Final cuts on tap for spiker squads

Lucas Punkari

For Muskie senior girls’ volleyball head coach Duane Roen and his junior counterpart, Jason Cain, the most difficult decision they’ll have to make all season will be decided upon by week’s end.
Both currently are in the process of choosing who will be on their respective squads heading into the first game of the NorWOSSA season on Dec. 21 in Dryden, with a series of highly-competitive practice sessions making those final cuts quite difficult.
“So far everything’s been going good with the 15 players that have been out to practice,” Roen noted.
“They are an eager bunch that really want to play, and that is making the job of cutting down the team to about nine or 12 players quite difficult.”
For the juniors, of the 40 players who initially tried out for the team, that number has been cut down to the 21 who are vying for a spot on a roster that will consist of 14-16 players.
“We had so many kids come out for tryouts that we actually split them up into two groups that came in on different days for the first week,” Cain recalled.
“The majority of the kids that have come out have had experience with the Vipers’ program, which makes those girls stand out right away from everyone else,” he added.
“But you are also still looking for those players that may not have played a lot but who have a lot of potential, and we have a few of those players out at the practices, as well.”
Although it’s still fairly early in the proceedings, both coaches have an idea of the type of squads they would like to field this season as they’ll be trying to take down the perennial NorWOSSA front-runners from Dryden.
“It’s going to be a very similar team to the ones that we have had here in the past,” Roen said of how the senior squad will shape up.
“We will be working on having a strong defence, and I have a few new ideas on that for this year that I’m hoping to try and implement.
“All of the parts are here to have a strong team this year as we have some good tall players and some high-energy players,” he noted.
“So all we need to do is be able to have what it takes to be successful.”
“For myself, I would like to have a team that is going to be dynamite and not afraid about going after the ball,” Cain said of his goals for the junior squad.
“In the past, sometimes the girls might give up on a play and not go after the ball,” he admitted. “But this year, I want to make sure that the girls are running that extra three to four feet so that they can go after the ball.”
Although the first NorWOSSA game is nearly a month away, both squads will head to Dryden for pre-season tournament action prior to their league opener on Dec. 21.
The senior spikers will be in Dryden on Dec. 9-10 while the juniors will make the trek there the following weekend.
The NorWOSSA home-opener for the black-and-gold is slated for Thursday, Dec. 22 against the Kenora Broncos.