Junior spikers serve up victory

To serve and protect. It’s a good motto not only for police officers but volleyball teams, too.
After failing to safeguard a 20-9 lead two days earlier in the fourth set at home against Dryden, the Muskie junior boys’ volleyball team used an almost-perfect serving performance to catapult them to a 3-0 sweep over the host Kenora Broncos in NorWOSSA action last Thursday.
“The first key was that our serving was so consistent,” said Muskie coach Greg Set. Croix, whose team improved to 2-2 at the midway point of the NorWOSSA season.
“We only missed three serves the entire match,” he noted. “Anytime you serve that well, your chances to win increase greatly.”
Ste. Croix was enthusiastic about his entire squad’s play, but highlighted the efforts of Grade 10 players Dave Pierce and Jared Bruyere.
“Dave provided a lot of leadership on the court with his play,” remarked Ste. Croix, whose team so far has split the season series with both Kenora and Dryden.
“It was really a collective effort,” he said. “All three teams in NorWOSSA are very competitive. I’m not surprised we’re 2-2.
“After opening with a win and then losing two-straight, it was the right time for a win.”
The only Muskie casualty was Grade 10 player Sean Wiersema, who suffered a minor ankle injury in last Thursday’s victory.
Seniors shorthanded
But the missing-in-action list for the senior spikers was somewhat lengthier as a depleted roster fell 3-1 to the host Broncos last Thursday afternoon.
With Matt Basaraba (broken wrist), Justin Addison (coach’s decision), and Billy Whitecrow (personal) out of the line-up, Muskie coach Adrian Chapman had to rely on just a seven-man lineup against Kenora.
“I played my junior players [Curtis Carlson and Dave Fagerdahl] regularly because they’ve shown me they’ve got certain skills that I can use them at certain times,” said Chapman.
“The whole team played really well to stay close with them throughout,” he added. “Kenora realized we didn’t have a full team in there and thought they’d step on us.
“This was a big morale booster for us, and put some fear in them for the future.”
Chapman also sung the virtues of veteran Curtis Wepruk, in just his second game since rejoining the team.
“He was absolutely amazing,” Chapman enthused. “He had some defensive lapses, but his blocking was great and his hitting I couldn’t even explain.
“Every time he touched the ball, we knew we’d get the point.”
The Muskies (1-3) can feel their confidence level rising with every set.
“We’re better than I thought we would be at the start of the [season],” said Chapman. “People on this team are starting to realize we have a chance to be a very good team.”
Both volleyball squads will entertain the Dryden Eagles in NorWOSSA play tomorrow at Fort High, with action starting at 3:30 p.m.