Junior spikers earn first win

After losing their first three NorWOSSA matches in close five-set affairs, the Muskie junior boys’ volleyball finally came out on the positive side of a do-or-die game against the Kenora Broncos here yesterday.
“I’m happy. We’ve been working very hard in practice,” said head coach Greg Ste. Croix, whose team now sports a 1-3 league record. “It was only a matter of time before we won a match.”
The black-and-gold opened with a 25-16 win. After dropping the second game 25-20, the Muskies took the third 25-8 but then could not put the Broncos away, losing 25-19 to force yet another fifth-and-deciding game.
Trailed 14-11 and facing match point in the finale, solid centre line defence by Theo DeGroot and Shawn Councillor helped spiker Matthew Gamsby spur a comeback.
His last offering spilled off a Kenora defender and out of bounds to secure the 16-14 victory.
Ste. Croix said he is pleased with the team’s development, adding all players are getting equal time on the court.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Muskie junior girls’ basketball team lost their first game of the season 26-22 to visiting Kenora yesterday afternoon.
After trailing by three points at the half, guard Sarah Barton gave the Muskies a short-lived lead before being outscored 9-2 in the final quarter.
Carley McCormick, Laura Busch, and Jody Caul led the way for the Muskies (3-1) with four points each. Bronco Kailey McMaster led all scorers with seven.
The junior hoopsters had averaged close to 40 points a game in their previous three wins before being stymied offensively by the more aggressive Broncos.
“I knew coming in [Kenora] would be tougher. They were very aggressive and we didn’t execute well enough,” said head coach Mike Busch, whose squad had dumped Kenora 31-19 to open NorWOSSA play two weeks ago.
“It was a tough loss but we’ll learn from it. They don’t like to lose. We’ll use it to our advantage,” he added.
In senior action, the Muskie boys’ volleyball were swept in their best-of-five match against the visiting Broncos, losing 25-9, 25-21, and 25-18.
Head coach Adrian Chapman said they were assessed an illegal rotation penalty in the first set which rattled the Muskies (1-3).
“We have a talented team but if they can’t keep their emotions in check, it will be tough,” he noted. “I’m disappointed but [games like these] happen from time to time.”
Finally, the senior girls’ basketball team gained some momentum heading into this weekend’s Pizza Hut Thanksgiving Classic in Thunder Bay by upending the Broncos 34-21.
Muskie Tricia Smith received a nice pass in the lane from Allison Hyatt to give them a 10-5 lead early in the second quarter. And they wouldn’t look back from there, owning a lead that would not dip below nine points for the rest of the game.
Smith scored 10 points in the win, just ahead of teammate Danielle McGee’s eight. Marnie Fisher led all scorers with 12 points for the Broncos, including 10 straight over a course of three quarters.
The senior hoopsters (2-2) will play St. Patrick’s tonight at Lakehead University’s C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse to open the tournament.
All four Muskie teams will resume NorWOSSA action Oct. 11 when they host the Dryden Eagles beginning at 12:30 p.m.