Junior girls earn tourney title

The Muskie junior girls’ volleyball team overcame a 12-3 deficit in the second game to sweep the St. Pat’s Saints 15-3, 15-12 in the final of an 11-team tournament in Dryden last weekend.
After opening with a 2-1 loss to the Thomas Aquinas Saints (Kenora), the Muskies never lost another match en route to a first-place finish in the round-robin portion.
That set up a battle with the second-place Saints in the best-of-three championship match.
Coach Struchan Gilson, who was away from the team for the past month while in England, said he was pleased with their effort in pulling off the dramatic comeback in the second game against the Saints.
He also alluded to the work of fill-in coach Duane Roen as being instrumental in the Muskies’ progress on the court.
“The key to all the wins for the girls was they passed, set, and hit well,” said Gilson. “We started slow in the second game [against St. Pat’s] and then we called a time-out and said ‘Let’s get just one point at a time’ and they did.
“They came back and really started playing well.
“We played our game, which I was pleased with, and we outplayed the other teams,” he added.
Gilson, who once again used a split squad lineup until the final, said the black-and-gold were dominant at times, including a 15-1 victory over the Hillcrest Colts in one game.
While he was pleased with the play of several players, he singled out the strong serving of Kelly Crawford, the hitting of Christin Thomson, and the serving of Sarah Noonan as keys to the tournament title.
But he also praised the play of Elissa Green and Jamie Whitecrow, and the defensive talents of Linda Zimmerman and Heather Mihichuk at the net.
Meanwhile, the senior Muskies girls were at a volleyball tournament in Kenora over the weekend but they were upset in the best-of-three semi-final by the Dryden Eagles (15-10, 7-15, and 15-12).
The seniors breezed through the six-team round-robin with a perfect 5-0 record, earning the number-one seed in the playoff round, only to be surprised by fourth-seeded Dryden.
Muskie head coach Rick Wiedenhoeft admitted his team may have been “too overconfident” in their semi-final loss to Dryden. The Muskies had manhandled the Eagles in round-robin play, and dominated them in NorWOSSA action here just last Thursday.
“I think we went through the round-robin too easily,” the veteran head coach mused. “Everything we did went wrong. I guess they thought it was a shoo-in to reach the final but we came out flat and made too many mistakes.”