Blue Pony tennis teams battle rain, tough teams in Great Falls
For one day, the rain stayed away. But the Havre High tennis teams needed two.
The Blue Ponies got in both of their duals during Friday’s action at the Great Falls Invitational, but rain washed away the second day of the event.
Friday, the Havre boys tied Butte High 4-4 and were blanked by Billings Senior 8-0. Meanwhile, the HHS girls lost to Butte 6-2 and were downed by Senior 5-3. Havre was set to face Billings Skyview and Cut Bank on Saturday, but the weather forced the entire second day of the tournament to be cancelled.
“We just have never had a lot of good luck with this tournament,” HHS head coach George Ferguson said. “In fact, prior to last year, it was completely cancelled for four straight years. The weather was beautiful for most of Friday, and we got some good tennis in. But it’s late in our season. Divisionals is only a week away now, so it’s very unfortunate that we couldn’t play on Saturday.”
Against the Bulldogs, the Pony boys got wins from Jeff Miller and Jerod Boles at the top of their singles lineup. Seniors Ned Malone and Brian Smith were also dominant at No. 1 doubles, as were juniors Wyatt Lindbloom and Noah Landgraf at No. 2. Against the Broncs, Miller suffered his first loss of the season, and overall, HHS was unable to win a match in the dual. But even in the loss, Ferguson saw some things that impressed him.
“Our freshmen did a great job in that dual, and it really showed me how far they all have come,” Ferguson said. “Jake Sedahl and Nate Korb and Jeff Ralph and Kyle Kirkpatrick in doubles, and Trey Hanson, playing in his first-ever tournament, they all played really good against the best varsity team we have faced all season long. So that showed me that those kids are all making tremendous progress, and with them, that’s what we want.
“Overall, Senior was really tough,” Ferguson added. “That was a good measuring stick for us, and what we learned is, we have to get better, and we have to do it in a hurry. The veteran kids in our lineup, the ones who are have a lot at stake in the postseason, they have work to do before we get to Bozeman and the divisional tournament. They didn’t play poorly by any means, but this next week of practice is one where they all need to make big strides.”
Against the Senior girls, Havre played well, even in losses. Brandy Lambourne dominated at the No. 1 singles spot, and fellow seniors Morgan Jappe and Haley Graham won a tough match at No. 2 doubles. Rainey Stoner also picked up a win at No. 4 singles. Against Butte, Lambourne and Tatiana Ralph won close, hard-fought matches in singles.
“Our girls played much better than they did the week before in Lewistown and that’s what I wanted to see,” Ferguson said. “We were missing some parts of our lineup, but I thought we looked much more like the girls team I expect us to be. For example, Shannon Herring played really well, even in two losses, and so did Breck Don and Ellery Bresler at No. 1 doubles. They played two tough opponents very well.
“Our girls team is on the right track,” Ferguson said. “But this next week of practice, and the Helena Invitational will really tell the tale. This is where we need to start to peak. We have a lot of experience on our girls team, and it’s time for them to really hit their stride. Hopefully, that will happen in the next seven days.”
The Blue Ponies will get back to action at what is the toughest tournament on their schedule. On Friday and Saturday, Havre will play at the prestigious Helena Invitational, arguably the best high school tennis tournament each season in Montana. Then, it’s off to Bozeman and the Central A Divisional.
“This is a huge week for us,” Ferguson said. “We’ll do our final varsity qualifying, but at the same time, we’re going to hit the fundamentals hard, and really sharpen up our game. This is the week where we need to start to peak and when we leave Helena, we need to feel like we’re one hundred percent ready for divisionals.”
Great Falls Invitational
Senior 8, Havre 0
Josh Moller, S def. Jeff Miller, HAV, 6-1, 6-4; Jack Repalge, S def. Jerod Boles, HAV, 6-3, 6-3; Skeff Thomas, S def. Jamie Lieberg, HAV, 8-1; Andre Driscoll, S def. Trey Hanson, HAV, 8-2.
Willy Schumann-Kline/Jack Wilgus, S def. Ned Malone/Brian Smith, HAV, 6-3, 6-3; Wyatt Iverson/Paul Foster, S def. Wyatt Lindbloom/Noah Landgraf, HAV, 6-4, 6-2; Kevin Bruhaug/Jaden Moller, S def. Jake Sedahl/Nate Korb, HAV, 8-6; Cairo Morton/Sam Replage, S def. Jeff Ralph/Kyle Kirkpatrick, HAV, 8-1.
Havre 4, Butte High 4
Jeff Miller, HAV def. Blake Casagrande, BUT, 6-2, 6-0; Jerod Boles, HAV def. Lucas Tenney, BUT, 6-3, 7-6 (9-7); Marcus Medrazo, BUT def. Jamie Lieberg, HAV, 6-3, 7-5; Tyler Osello, BUT def. Trey Hanson, HAV, 8-4.
Ned Malone/Brian Smith, HAV def. Griff Warner/Tyler Reilly, BUT, 6-2, 6-1; Noah Landgraf/Wyatt Lindbloom, HAV def. Levin Mulloney/Andy Kelly, BUT, 6-2, 6-0; Nate Scheimann/Riley Sheridan, BUT def. Jake Sedahl/Nate Korb, HAV, 8-2; Seth Jashka/Jake Williams, BUT def. Jeff Ralph/Kyle Kirkpatrick, HAV, 8-2.
Senior 5, Havre 3
Brandy Lambourne, HAV def. Sadie Michael, S, 6-1, 6-2; Erika Willman, S def. Tatiana Ralph, HAV, 6-0, 6-2; Mauren Kirkland, S def. Shannon Herring, HAV, 8-5; Rainey Stoner, HAV def. Nicole Keller, S, 8-1.
Dani Nicholas/Abby Coffee, S def. Ellery Bresler/Breck Don, HAV, 6-0, 6-4; Morgan Jappe/Haley Graham, HAV def. Rachel Eaton/Hannah Vogel, S, 6-2, 7-5; Stephanie Beal/, S def. Corttney Gobin/Kaylee Nash, HAV, 8-0. Havre forfeits No. 4 doubles
Butte High 6, Havre 2
Brandy Lambourne, HAV def. Molly Nelson, BUT, 6-4, 6-4; Tatiana Ralph, HAV def. Lekeya Lidwik, BUT, 6-1, 1-6, 10-4; Carly Johnson, BUT def. Shannon Herring, HAV, 8-4; Maya Joyner, BUT def. Rainey Stoner, HAV, 8-3.
Ori/McCInnis, BUT def. Ellery Bresler/Breck Don, HAV, 6-0, 7-5; Springer/Valle, BUT def. Morgan Jappe/Haley Graham, HAV, 7-5, 6-3; Havre forfeits No. 3 doubles, Graham/Jappe, HAV def. Rosa/Jenkins, 8-5 in exhibition match; Springer/Arnstram, BUT def. Kaylee Nash/Corttney Gobin, HAV, 8-4.