Junior spikers rebound

Jamie Mountain

The learning never stops for the Muskie junior boys’ volleyball team and it was able to strengthen its development last week.
The Muskies (4-3) snapped a two-match losing streak with a 2-0 sweep of the Broncos (0-6) in Kenora last Wednesday afternoon.
The set scores were 25-10 and 26-24. Fort High also won the third exhibition set by a 25-15 margin.
“We played well, most of our serves went in,” Muskie coach Terry McMahon said of the road win over the Broncos.
“Good things happen when you put the ball over then net.”
Fort High then made the trip to compete at the Dryden Eagles’ home tournament on Friday and Saturday, where they came away with a 0-3-3 record.
The Muskies split their opening match against host Eagles before losing in straight sets to both of the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (Kenora) and Hammarskjold Vikings (Thunder Bay).
Then after earning a split against both the Rainy River Owls and La Vérendrye Vipers, the black-and-gold ended tourney play by losing in a tiebreaker against the Westgate Tigers (Thunder Bay).
“We are still riding the roller coaster but we played some really good volleyball,” McMahon said of the tournament.
“Our losses aren’t coming from a lack of skill or effort, but just small mistakes and poor decisions with the ball. But we started correcting them as the weekend went on.
“Our development is really starting to show,” he enthused.
“We are playing in-system volleyball which is awesome to see. Our serve receive has been good for the most part, our setting has been great.”
McMahon also noted that each of his players are starting to stand out in their own way, which is a positive as the team heads down the stretch towards the NorWOSSA playoffs.
“Kade Oster is really settling in at libero and passing well. Garret Paul is getting great on offence, Evan Strain is so sharp on defence and is learning to read the game well,” he noted.
“Tristin Yerxa hardly misses a serve. Ethan Barker is starting to find his swing and is crushing balls. Grayson Burnell has really stepped up his game.
“They’re all doing great,” McMahon enthused.
As for the senior squad, they saw their NorWOSSA record fall to 1-6 with a tough 2-0 setback to the unbeaten Broncos (6-0) last Thursday.
The Muskies were close in each set, but it was Kenora winning the first two sets by scores of 25-21 and 25-22 before then taking the third exhibition set by a 25-21 margin.
Fort High then travelled to Thunder Bay to take part in the annual St. Patrick Volleyball Festival, where it came away with a 2-3 record and snared the consolation title.
Things didn’t start out so great for the Muskies, however, as they went 0-3 in Pool ‘B’ play on Friday.
That included straight sets losses to each of the Hammarskjold Vikings (25-13/25-9), St. Ignatius Falcons (25-22/25-21), and Marathon Falcons (25-15/25-14).
But the black-and-gold ended tourney play with back-to-back wins to claim the consolation title on Saturday.
The Muskies dumped the host Saints in three sets in the play-in round on Saturday morning by set scores of 23-25, 25-12, and 15-13.
They followed that up by sweeping the Lake Superior Stingers to claim the consolation final.
The set scores were 25-23 and 25-18.
Both Muskie volleyball teams were slated to resume NorWOSSA action this afternoon when they welcomed the Eagles to Fort High for the final time in the regular season.
The seniors then will head to Dryden to play at a tournament hosted by the Eagles on Friday and Saturday.
Both squads will conclude league play next Tuesday (Oct. 29) when they host the Sioux Lookout Warriors at the “Fish Tank.”