Junior spikers stay undefeated

Mitch Calvert

The Muskie junior boys’ volleyball team improved to a perfect 4-0 at the midway point of the NorWOSSA season with a four-set win over the Kenora Broncos here last Thursday.
“We were missing one of our starters, so we had to move in one of our Grade 9s [Brayden Botsford] in with the starting crew and he worked out well,” junior coach Duane Roen said.
“We had to change our system from a 5-1 to a 6-2 and the kids adapted well.
“My starting setter [Brandon Sinclair] was a little ruffled there at the start of the first set,” Roen admitted. “He’s so used to setting every ball, but it gave him the opportunity to hit the ball and he does that well, too.”
Fort High took the first set 25-18 but then dropped the second one 28-26. But the Muskies prevailed easily in the next two, winning by scores of 25-14 and 25-7 to seal the best-of-five match.
The squad returns to the court tomorrow when they host the Dryden Eagles.
Their schedule then heats up after that, with a stretch of three-straight tournaments over the next three weekends.
“We’re in Dryden [this] weekend, a one-day tournament in Thunder Bay the next weekend, and then Winnipeg the weekend after that,” Roen noted.
“It’s going to be a busy month.”
The Muskie senior boys, meanwhile, have yet to register their first win of the NorWOSSA campaign but showed promise in a four-set loss to the Broncos here last Thursday by scores of 17-25, 14-25, 25-19, and 13-25.
“We are definitely a deeper and stronger team than last year, but we are still getting stuck in ruts during each set,” senior coach John Gibson lamented.
“Dropping four or five points in a row is huge at this level.”
Gibson said their biggest problem right now is consistency.
“The guys have shown they can play awesome ball and beat their NorWOSSA opponents in any given set, yet we aren’t consistent enough with the basics [like] serve, receive, passing,” he remarked.
“Once we can run more hitting options quickly, we’ll spread out the opposing blockers and get more kills,” he reasoned.
Gibson is hoping some minor adjustments will pay major dividends.
“We did revamp the offensive positioning last week, which we are still getting used to,” he admitted.
“On defence, the team is covering the court much better, [but] now we need to improve their ability to read the attack and anticipate the ball, which will give them a fraction of a second advantage in completing a block or digging the ball up.”
The senior squad also has benefitted from the recent addition of Allison Hyatt to the coaching staff.
“Having Allison Hyatt working with me as a coach the past two weeks has been great,” Gibson said.
“She brings a lot of experience to the team and fresh perspective on what we have been doing,” he noted.