The volleyball season for both Rainy River and Fort Frances high schools this season was phenomenal, with both schools excelling at the sport.
OWLS SR GIRLS
Rainy River senior girls division A (the division depends on the enrolment in the school) won the NorWOSSA.
Speaking with Georgia Kreger, she shared both her and coach Georgia Kreger were extremely impressed with the skills and attitude of the team.
The team headed into playoffs with an eight win and two loss season. The two losses were our final two games of the regular season.
Throughout the season the team experienced some set-backs, including an injury for one of the team’s middle hitters. But the team has come together with the girls working very hard to earn NORWOSSA in a 3-0 match against St. Thomas Aquinas School (Kenora).
Although the girls lost their games in the NWOSSA “A” division they did take the silver title, and that’s something to be proud of!
Kelly Agar, Rainy River High School principal shared with me that the team has worked well together, with encouragement from their coaches, Georgia Kreger and Georgia Jarvis to overcome some challenges throughout the season.
Kelly shared, “I am so proud how the girls demonstrated excellent team work and supported each other. They are a dedicated team and have demonstrated that hard work pays off!”
Kelly would like to thank the entire community of Rainy River and surrounding area for the support they showed to the team, and coaches and thank the many residents who decorated the town with blue and gold.
Three of the players from Rainy River shared a few words with me about their volleyball season.
Kallahan LeBlanc was unable to play her “middle” position after dislocating her knee in December. She was only able to play for a short period of time through the season.
As Kallahan watched the girls win the gold at the final NorWOSSA game, she was mixed with emotions – happy about their excellent game and yet wanting to be on the court with them. She shared, “They are great girls and players and I love them all.”
Kallahan has played volleyball for four years, and will be back on the court next year.
Isabelle Hanson shared with me, “I feel our team did really well, especially with being such a small school and dealing with a few injuries through the season. There were a few games where we weren’t in our A-game, but we powered through and made sure we stayed in first place. Our team was good at reassuring and helping one another on the court and we never got mad at one another, which can be negative to the team.”
“We really wanted to win, not only for ourselves but for our whole school being the only team to make it to NorWASSA in the “A” division.”
Advice Isabelle gives to up-and-coming players is, “Showing up to practice and the game isn’t going to make your team win – you need to work harder and smarter than all the other teams.”
Winning NorWASSA was a big moment for the team – especially for the seniors who won’t be back next year.
One of the special times during the volleyball season was bring able to hang out during the away games.
The coaches were amazing, both Georgia Kreger and Georgina Jarvis were supportive of the team. Georgia was with us at all the away games making it a fun time, and Georgina is an amazing volleyball teacher, she came to all our practices and she made sure we did well this season.
Isabelle was so grateful for the teachers being very understanding about the team missing classes, because of how “BIG” this moment was for them. She’s also so happy for the support of the entire school and community and the decorating of the town. She truly feels they won NorWOSSA because so many people believed in the team. She wants to thanks the spectators who helped the team “stay talking” within the team. If the girls were quiet it was never for too long as the spectators would make as much cheering noise as they could! Isabelle’s positions on the team were setter and power player.
Emma Olson was willing to share with me highlights of her volleyball season. Emma will be graduating this year, but she will take with her the excitement of a NorWOSSA win.
“It was a fun and challenging year and one I will definitely remember,” she shared. “We have good serves and play smart. Our weakness is getting in our head and not communicating with each other. We stayed strong by being positive and by never discouraging one another. My advice for girls considering to try out for volleyball is to have an open mind and always do your best.”
Without a doubt the highlight of the season was winning NorWOSSA.
Emma speaks very highly of the coaches, “They aren’t the most vocal, but they’re always supportive of us.”
Emma could feel the support of the community, students and teachers. “Everyone was such a big help in lifting our spirits when we were down,” she said.
Emma’s position was setter, right hand hitter and team captain.
My time at Rainy River High School, and getting to share a few words with team members, coaches and Kelly Agar (principal) showed me without a doubt Rainy River High School might be small in size, but it lacks nothing in support!
MUSKIE SR GIRLS
The Senior Muskie Girls Volleyball team won the gold in the NorWOSSA title in Dryden on February 17th.
Duane Roen (coach) shared with me that the game in Dryden went to the fifth set and the team was able to win 15-13.
Duane is very proud of this team and how they were able to find a way to win despite facing adversity during their last game in Dryden. They won the first two sets but during the third set there were a few injuries and the team lost its focus, losing the 3rd and 4th set.
“We were able to regroup halfway through the 5th and caught up to Dryden. The end of the set was back and forth and we were able to capture the crown. We wouldn’t have been able to win without the complete commitment from this team,” said Roen.
As with any team they have experienced frustration and a few tears along the way, but the majority has been exciting and full of camaraderie and laughter, he said. Roen also had the assistance of Alex Adrian coaching the team this season. Alex was a player of his a few years ago.
The games played Saturday ended with the Muskie Girls losing their games 3-0. There were some good sets played. The team ended with Silver in NWOSSA this year.
MUSKIE JR GIRLS
The Junior girls Muskie volleyball team won gold at the NorWOSSA “AA“ finals on Friday, February 17.
Terry McMahon (coach) along with coach Mitch Perrault had a good year. McMahon shared, “The season went well. The girls didn’t lose a game all year. In fact they only lost two sets out of the 47 they played. That’s actually an amazing record. This group of young ladies worked so hard and came so far over the season.”
The team’s biggest asset this year was its excellent work ethic.
“It’s very easy to see a winning team and assume they’re naturally talented or just good and I think a lot of people did and still do with this team,” he said. “But I can tell you they had a championship work ethic and they didn’t take a day off all season.”
“Every time they stepped in the gym it was to get better. We pushed them really hard all season and they responded well and didn’t complain once, they actually did it with a smile on their face, most days. Our biggest challenge over the season was ourselves, with the mental side of the game. Volleyball is such a mental sport, it’s easy to get in your own head, it’s a game of highs and lows, so when we we’re in our lows we had a lot of talks about being positive and believing in yourself self talks, to fight through it and get ourselves back in the game.”
The girls had some battles and fought through them well, he said. They got compliments all season long for their game play.
“They’re so exciting to watch. They don’t play like a Junior Team. It was an incredible season. I am so proud of how much these athletes grew on and off the court and I am looking forward to watch them continue their volleyball journey,” McMahon said.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volleyball players from both schools, all six coaches, parents and the many other people that made for such a “Topnotch” season in the Rainy River District!