Muskie badminton duo qualifies for NorWOSSA

Muskie badminton coach Brian Church felt his players simply fell victim to “inexperience” at the NorWOSSA qualifier last week in Atikokan.
Just one team, the junior girls’ doubles duo of Siobhan Devlin and Melissa Angus, advanced to the NorWOSSA playoffs today in Ignace (no scores were available at press time).
After finishing pool play with a 3-1 record, the twosome claimed one of the three NorWOSSA berths up for grabs by coming third out of the four teams in the playoffs, beating Sioux Lookout but losing to a pair of Atikokan squads.
Church said the girls overcame a slow start and played much better as the game wore on, particularly when the pressure mounted.
“They were a bit off their game, missing some shots and getting off to a rough start. But when the pressure was there, they started hitting their shots,” said Church.
“They started to play more in control.”
Church said the duo benefited greatly from the fact they were playing in their second season together as juniors.
“They have a better understanding of the game now and they put their shots in better position [on the court],” he noted.
He also praised both players athleticism, particularly Devlin, who also stars on the Muskie junior volleyball team.
“They are both quick, and because [Devlin] is so tall, she has such an excellent reach,” he said.
Since the pair only had two days of practice (because of the Easter break) to get ready for the NorWOSSA final, Church invited players whose season came to an abrupt end last week to come out and practice in order to give the girls additional competition.
They also will have the chance to get an early start for next year, he noted.
Church said this year’s Muskie team was a young one, which undoubtedly will improve by next season. In fact, he said there was a noticeable difference in their level of play after just one week of competition.
“We had a lot of grade nines and first-year seniors so we had a lot of players playing older competition,” he noted, adding all the players had a good time playing this season.
“I’m really pleased with how our grade nines improved over the last tournament.”
The other junior girls’ doubles team of Kristen Wishart and Michelle Murray failed to advance out of their pool in Atikokan, finishing third with a 1-2 record (only the top two teams advanced from each pool).
In junior boys’ doubles action, the tandem of Mark Soderberg-Jason Brant finished third in their pool with a 2-2 record while Matt Armstrong-Tyson Storkson went 0-4.
The junior mixed doubles team of Travis Derksen and Nicole Murray finished the round-robin in fourth place at 3-3 while the duo of Dan Gill-Tara Svoboda were 0-6.
In junior singles play, Lindsey Hallikas finished third in her pool with a 1-2 record while Emily Gill placed fifth (0-4). Dan Booth finished third in his boys’ pool (1-2 record).
In senior action last week, Katie Vittie came fifth in the girls’ singles division with an 0-4 record while Chris Stamarski also went 0-4 on the boys’ side.
Shaunna Cuthbertson and Crystal Caul teamed up for a fourth-place finish (2-3) in the round-robin of the senior girls’ doubles division while Mark Colvin and Courtney Calder went 0-4 in mixed doubles play.