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Powerful Pony volleyball team is ready to spike

Senior-laden HHS netters will be good this fall

 

August 29, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre High senior Jessa Chvilicek hits a shot during last week's annual Blue/White volleyball game. Chvilicek is one of many talented seniors and veterans that are helping to make the Ponies a very powerful team in 2019. The Ponies open their season at this weekend's Eastern A Top-Off Tournament in Laurel. For more on HHS volleyball and football, see Friday's Havre Daily News.

The Havre High volleyball team has shown steady improvement over the past couple of seasons, but in 2019, with some key players returning, the Blue Ponies have an opportunity to make an extended postseason run.

HHS put together a solid campaign last season, going 12-8 in the regular season. The team looked poised for a run to state but fell short at the Eastern A Divisional.

Now, even though the state tournament may be a few months away, it seems like an attainable goal for a team on the rise.

"I think it's going to be a good season," HHS head coach Tamecia Jarvis said. "The girls are looking pretty good. I feel really good about some of the players that we have coming back. Individually, we have a lot of really talented girls. We just need to find a way to work together and play really well together. That's going to be the key."

Blending talent and finding ways for it to fit together is a common charge for a head coach, however, Jarvis will have an advantage this season over a lot of other teams as she will have three All-Conference performers coming back, including All-State hitter Cassidy Acor.

Acor was highly productive last season for the Ponies and put together a conference-best hitting percentage of .337, as well as 226 kills, which ranked third in the Central A. Yet, she isn't the only big-time hitter on the roster, as Jessa Chvilicek, who earned Second-Team All-Conference honors after 148 kills and a hitting percentage of .200 last season, is back for her senior season as well.

Along with two talented seniors in the front row controlling the net, as Acor and Chvilicek are two of the best block defenders in Class A, the Ponies will also have the services of Sam Oliver, who also was named Second-Team All-Conference in 2018. It was the second time Oliver earned All-Conference honors and she did it by finishing third in the conference in aces and assists, as well as sixth in digs.

Jarvis also mentioned that Peyton Brown would be another key contributor, and she was an essential defender for the team last season and was among the team leader in digs. She also has a strong serve and is another senior with plenty of experience.

"I think Peyton Brown is another one that is going to step up and have a really good year for us," Jarvis said. "But after that, it's hard to say for sure. We have to see who steps up and how everyone fits together."

But the Ponies also have even more experience returning in the likes of Katelyn Maloughney, Sydney Wilting, Kinsey Adkins and Quinn McDonald. Add to that the addition of Talia Ralph, Ellie Collins and others, and Havre has the depth to compete with anyone.

While the Ponies bring back some of their top players from last season, there are some big changes with the team in 2019 that mostly have to do with the schedule. For starters, Havre will no longer play Belgrade, a team that dominated the Central A and Class A as a whole in volleyball. Yet the Panthers are now in Class AA and HHS is part of the Northeast A, which includes Sidney, Miles City, Glendive and Lewistown.

"It will be nice to face some more Class A competition," Jarvis said. "We didn't get to play a ton of Class A teams in the past, so that will be nice. We will miss having that chance to play Belgrade, but we want to go out and compete as hard as possible every game, no matter who we play."

In terms of the divisional tournament, Havre will still take part in the Eastern A Divisional, which it will host and will compete with a total of nine teams for four spots at the state tournament. Yet seeding for that tournament is determined in the regular season and that's where the home-and-away series with Lewistown, Glendive, Sidney and Miles City will come into play.

If the Ponies can find a way to finish in one of the top spots in the regular-season standings, it would give them an easier path to state.

Additionally, Havre will meet another former Central A rival, Browning in a pair of non-conference games this season, while also taking part in the Eastern A Tip-off tournament Aug. 30-31. The Ponies will also play at Great Falls High as part of the non-conference schedule, as well as competing in the Electric City Classic. CMR also joins the non-conference schedule and will make a trip to the HHS gymnasium Sept. 10. Conrad from Class B will round out the schedule. The Cowgirls will play a traditional home-and-away with the Ponies.

The Eastern A Divisional is scheduled for Nov. 7-9 in Havre, while the All-Class state tournament will be in Bozeman Nov. 14-16.

 

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