Muskie spikers blocked from victory

It was about making a statement—and the Dryden Eagles had the louder voice.
The Muskie senior girls’ volleyball squad got a taste of how tough NorWOSSA life is going to be like this season, falling in three-straight sets to the host Eagles yesterday afternoon.
The Eagles won the first set 25-22 and looked to be gaining strength in the second, capturing the set by a 25-16 margin.
The Muskies, missing veteran Danielle McGee due to a knee injury, hung in for as long as they could in the third set but eventually succumbed 27-25.
The senior Muskies (1-1) had put the crunch on the Kenora Broncos in their season-opener here last Thursday, opening the best-of–five showdown with 25-19 and 25-18 wins thanks to strong defensive coverage along with an effective offensive assault.
But with the situation well in control, the black-and-gold let the Broncos creep back into the match with a 25-19 victory in the third set.
“Kenora started to make some adjustments and realized where we had people on the court,” said Muskie coach Char Ellwood.
“Our serving was off in that game, too. But it was a wake-up call,” she added.
Was it ever. The Muskies shook off their slumber and jumped out to 17-3 lead in the fourth game en route to a 25-7 victory that sent the Broncos packing.
“We communicated really well and played hard the entire match,” said Ellwood. “We’re always positive with each other, which helps a lot.”
The senior spikers will ring in the New Year with a trip to Kenora for the St. Thomas Aquinas Invitational tournament Jan. 3-4.
< *c>Juniors clawed
Meanwhile, the Eagles Nest was no friendlier to the Muskie junior girls yesterday, also being swept by the Eagles by scores were 25-16, 25-17, and 25-16.
The Muskies (1-1) had used a familiar two-line attack in their season-opener here last Thursday that worked almost to perfection, leading the black-and-gold to a 3-1 victory over the Broncos.
Keeping the same pair of line-ups that had done so well at the Muskies’ pre-season invitational tournament here Dec. 6-7, the hosts took the first set 25-23 before falling 25-17 in the second one.
The first group returned for the third game, and after falling by six points, clinched the set with an emphatic kill by Laura Busch for a 25-22 win.
Then the second unit proved their worth in the fourth set, jumping all over the Broncos early en route to an easy 25-8 win to seal the match.
“We went that route because the kids were familiar with each other in those groups from the tournament, and we didn’t have a lot of time to set new lines,” said Muskie coach Duane Roen, who highlighted Jamie Beadow’s serving as a key factor in the victory over Kenora.
“It was nice to see the second unit come back and finish off the match,” he added.
The split-squad approach has its limitations, though.
“We can only take 12 players on the road,” said Roen. “So it will be six rookies and six veterans that go [to Dryden] this time, and those who don’t will go next time.”
Both Muskie teams resume NorWOSSA play Jan. 9 in Kenora against the Broncos.