The Fort Frances High Muskie Girls Jr Volleyball team took the championship in a tightly contested five-set match against Dryden on April 4.
The Boys Jr Basketball team has also struck gold.
The Boys Sr Basketball and Girls Sr Volleyball both placed third for the season.
The Girls Jr Volleyball ended up finishing at the top of the table in regular season play which gave them a bye directly to the championship game. Muskies coach Terry McMahon says the team was a little disappointed not to get another game.
“We got the bye to the gold medal game which was good,” McMahon said. “But the girls were kind of disappointed, they kind of wanted to play the extra game and play more volleyball, but they were pretty excited to finish first.”
The top three teams met in Dryden. Dryden played against Sioux North and won the semi-final. So the final was being played in Dryden’s gym.
“We knew there was a storm we’d have to weather,” McMahon said. “It’s been kind of an issue we’ve had all year with slow starts and nervous overthinking in the starts to our games.”
The Muskies took the first set, 25-23 by McMahon’s recollection. The Muskies struggled in the next two sets losing 26-24, and 25-22.
“We tried to calm them down,” McMahon said. “Me and my co-coach Mitch Perrault. I’m not quite sure what exactly happened, but going into the fourth once they hit the court they made a few adjustments. The girls started picking up on what (Dryden) was doing and our defense started playing really well and nothing was hitting the floor. So the fourth set went really well. I think we won 25-14.”
The fifth set went almost as well.
“We went on a nice run, I think it was 8-1 or something like that by the time we lost our first serve,” McMahon said. “We ended up winning 15-8 and we won the gold medal.”
McMahon says he could see a difference in the attitudes between the different sets.
“In the second or third sets after they made a mistake you could tell they were kind of visibly shook from that for a couple of points after,” McMahon said. “Whereas as they settled down they were able to come together and snap out of it a little quicker. We told them to take an extra breath before they did anything, before they served.
McMahon also said it was a great achievement given what the team has been through this year with COVID in addition to the mid-season shut down the virus hit most of the team.
“COVID just seemed to work its way through the team, coaches included,” McMahon said. “So it always seemed like we averaged about eight players all season. So we were practicing with half the team, the girls doing what they could and the same with the coaches.”
McMahon is quite proud of the team especially given none of them have played volleyball at this level because there was no team during the pandemic.
“Considering it was everyone’s first year,it was super exciting,” He said. “To see the progress and how far they came, it was really cool.