No place like the Pony Corral
Ponies storm back to beat Shelby in a senior-night thriller at the HHS gymnasium
Last updated 9/28/2020 at 11:55am
Coming off of a split weekend last week, the Havre High volleyball team was aiming to sweep a weekend for the first time in the 2020 season, with a battle against Northeastern A rival, the Miles City Cowgirls, and a senior night showdown with the Shelby Coyotes. But the weekend, once again, found a similar result.
Over the weekend, there was another split of games. Miles City beat Havre 3-1 down in Miles City Friday, with the set scores being 17-25, 25-15, 18-25 and 22-25 and then Havre beat Shelby 3-2 in the Havre High Gymnasium Saturday, with the set scores being 24-26, 18-25, 25-10, 25-18 and 15-13. Now, the Ponies are 3-2 overall and 1-2 in the Northeastern A.
Miles City was a tough opponent to start the weekend and Havre head coach Steph Huse saw some struggles Friday.
"Against Miles City, we did not play our game," Huse said. "We just kind of lost track of what we needed to do in order to be successful in that match. That was a hard match to go through, but I feel like you're going through matches like that during the season. It's all about how you respond to it as a team and how you move forward from a match like Miles City."
Miles City opened the game on its home-court with a strong 25-17 win in the first set over the Ponies, but Havre pushed right back in the second set, battling its way back and taking the second set with a good lead 25-15, tying the game 1-1. But the Cowgirls caught the Blue Pony defensive effort napping, stealing the third set late and then squeaking away with the fourth set after Havre battled to the very last volley, but ultimately faced another conference loss.
Senior night against the Shelby Coyotes came afterward, as the Blue Ponies were looking for some redemption after the tough loss. At the end of the Saturday bout, Huse saw her team make up for Friday's loss.
"It was senior night," Huse said. "I think everybody did a great job representing those seniors and letting them have their moment in front of our home crowd. That energy in that gym is something that the girls have been waiting for that season. Shelby brough some talent with them onto the court. We started out a little slow, but it just showed our girls' character when we were down two games to nothing. They really came together and just kind of dug in to overcome being down 0-2 to come back and win the last three."
The Coyotes took the first two sets after breaking away from two close battles with the Ponies. Those first two sets not only set the tone for a strong Shelby squad, but also showed that Havre was still staying in the matches. But after those two sets went the Coyotes way, a slumbering beast awakened on the court that day.
The Blue Pony spikers then stormed back in the third set, effectively shutting down the previous offensive fervor that Shelby had, to continue the battle in the Havre High Gymnasium. Then came the fourth set, where the Ponies once again won convincingly with a good lead. But the fifth and final set came down to the wire once again. A kill by Talia Ralph hit the court on the Coyotes side to win the game on the Saturday senior night showdown.
Going forward, Huse is prepared to focus on some points as the midpoint of the season is approaching.
"I think we just need to play better defense," Huse said. "We need our defense to be more clean. Hustle is there, but our discipline and being where we need to be defensively is not. We didn't execute that very well. But, we continue to serve the ball very well, and I think that's become a staple for our team, as we continue to do that."
At the end of the weekend, there were strong performances from some Ponies. Against Miles City, Avery Carlson led the team with nine kills and Alyssa Oliver led the pack with 17 digs. Versus Shelby, Ralph racked up 11 kills to lead the Ponies, while Sydney Wilting had five aces on the night.
Next up, the Havre Blue Ponies (3-2) have a Thursday game against the Lewistown Golden Eagles in Lewistown at 7 p.m., followed by a Saturday rematch against the Miles City Cowgirls in Havre.
Havre def. Shelby
24-26, 18-25, 25-10, 25-18, 15-13
HAV – Kills 25 (Maddie Columbus 3, Yelena Miller 4, Avery Carlson 6, Talia Ralph 11, Alyssa Oliver 1); Assists 23 (Ellie Collins 23); Aces 12 (Oliver 3, Miller 1, Samantha Lovenguth 3, Sydney Wilting 5); Digs 78 (Kaylee Torgerson 6, Collins 18, Miller 5, Oliver 8, Wilting 14, Kennedy Hampton 13, Carlson 3, Ralph 3, Columbus 4, Lovenguth 4); Blocks 10 (Columbus 2, Miller 2, Ralph 3, Lovenguth 2, Carlson 1).
SHB – not reported.
Miles City def. Havre
17-25, 25-15, 18-25, 22-25
HAV – Kills 32 (Collins 3, Columbus 8, Miller 3, Carlson 9, Ralph 8, Wilting 1); Assists 29 (Collins 25); Aces 7 (Torgerson 2, Collins 3, Miller 1, Oliver 1); Digs 69 (Torgerson 8, Wilting 17, Hampton 11, Collins 6, Miller 6, Oliver 17, Columbus 2, Carlson 1, Ralph 1); Blocks 2 (Miller 1, Lovenguth 1).
MCC – Kills 15 (Bailey Nowicki 8, Taylor Lee 7); Assists 24 (Ryleigh Simonsen 18, Carmella Prete 6); Aces 5 (Simonsen 3, Nowicki 2); Digs 32 (Emily Dougherty 15, Prete 17); Blocks 3 (Nowicki 3).