Junior spikers second in Dryden

The junior boys’ volleyball team put in its best performance of the season by finishing second at a tournament in Dryden over the weekend.
The eight-team field also included the host Eagles, Whitefish Bay, St. Thomas Aquinas (Kenora), Sioux Lookout, St. Ignatius (Thunder Bay), Beaver Brae, and Atikokan.
Muskie head coach Greg Ste. Croix was thrilled with the positive result.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the boys,” he said following practice Monday night at Fort High.
“It’s a confidence-builder,” he added. “I can’t remember ever going to a tournament and coming home in second place.”
Confidence was a popular topic at practice as several of the Muskies echoed their coach’s sentiments.
“We’re coming together as a better team and we’re getting our confidence up by getting that silver,” said Steve Williams.
“We made a lot more serves and we practised harder the last week,” noted Justin Anderson.
“We got our confidence up early and we actually cheered this time. We didn’t cheer that much the other games [earlier in the season],” he added.
But while all involved with the team were happy to get some much-needed wins under their belts, everyone—from Ste. Croix to the players themselves—understands there’s still a lot of work to do if they are to carry the success over into league play.
“Now we have to transfer that to league [play],” Ste. Croix said.
“We’re getting better, but there’s still room for improvement,” agreed Joe Basaraba.
Of particular concern to the players was the need to serve consistently, as well as being accurate with their passes.
The junior spikers will look to earn their first NorWOSSA win tomorrow at 3 p.m. when they host the Dryden Eagles in their regular-season finale.
The Muskies faced St. Thomas Aquinas in the quarter-finals of the Dryden tournament courtesy a second-place finish in pool play.
The junior spikers started strong, taking the first set in the best-of-three match by a score of 25-19. The Saints then won the second set 25-14 to force a deciding set to break the deadlock.
In the final game, the Muskies played efficient volleyball and remained focused en route to a 15-10 victory.
The Atikokan Voyageurs awaited the black-and-gold in the semi-finals.
The Muskies followed a familiar pattern, winning the opening set 25-15 before losing the second one 25-15 to force a third game.
But once again, Fort High rose to the challenge—winning a hard fought 18-16 set to advance to the final against the host Eagles.
Fort High gave it everything they had and won the first set 25-22.
However, the effort of the opening set drained the team and they faded down the stretch, losing the next two sets 25-10 and 15-9 en route to their second-place finish.

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