Muskie court season starting up soon

Two of the four Muskie court teams will get their first taste of competition this weekend.
The senior boys’ volleyball squad is hitting the road for a tournament in Thunder Bay while the junior girls’ basketball team is off to Dryden.
Junior girls’ coach Dan Bird said the tournament will be key because it will give the players—some of them playing in a Muskie uniform for the first time—a chance to see how they match up against other teams.
It also will give Bird an opportunity to see how his players handle game situations—and get a glimpse if they’re capable of defending their NorWOSSA title.
“I want these girls to get some playing time so that when the [regular] season does start, they don’t have the big jitters,” said Bird. “So I want to make sure they all hit the floor.
Bird, who helped coach the Muskie senior girls’ basketball team last season with Mike Busch, was offered the junior girls’ post since last year’s coach, Michelle Mosbeck, is pregnant.
Meanwhile, John Gibson is back for another season as head coach of the senior boys’ volleyball team, assisted by Adrian Chapman. He’s hoping this weekend’s tourney in Thunder Bay will give the new players on the 14-man roster the chance to see what senior ball is all about.
“It’s really big in learning the fundamentals of senior ball,” noted Gibson, whose team went winless last season. “The seniors that are returning like Andrew Dobie are familiar with our plays, but the juniors haven’t had the experience.”
The NorWOSSA regular season doesn’t get started until Sept. 27, when the four Muskie squads will head to Dryden. They’ll play their home-openers Sept. 29 against the Kenora Broncos.
But before those dates arrive, both the senior girls’ basketball team and junior boys’ volleyball squad will be able to get some games under their belts as both are be heading to Thunder Bay next weekend for tournaments.
After a six-year absence, Ian Simpson is back as a Muskie coach, assisted by his daughter, Marla.
And though the team only has four returning players, Simpson is confident the squad, which went 7-1 last season to claim its fifth-straight NorWOSSA crown before losing to the Fort William Collegiate Institute Blue Bears in the NWOSSAA final), will get on the winning track come mid-season.
“By normal standards, this would be a building year,” said Simpson, who has 23 years of coaching experience with the Muskies, Dryden Eagles, and Rainy River Owls.
“I think we have a good group of athletes and I think we’ll take our lumps at the beginning of the season,” he added. “But by mid-season, we’ll be a team to be reckoned with.”
For their part, the junior boys’ volleyball team will be looking to put last season’s winless campaign behind them and start anew.
“They are going to be solid. I’m very confident that this group is going to be a very competitive group,” said Greg Ste. Croix, who will be sharing coaching duties with Toby Munro.
“We’ve got five returning players and it should be a very successful season.
“Last year we were 0-9 and we’ve got to win some matches, and we’ve got to do it early,” he stressed.