Muskie spikers looking forward to playoffs

After an embarrassing straight-set loss to the Dryden Eagles there last Thursday, the Muskie senior girls’ volleyball team needed to end their NorWOSSA regular season on a high note.
And they did just that with a convincing 3-1 win over the Kenora Broncos here yesterday afternoon.
“This was a very important game to win because we are going into Kenora on Thursday for the NorWOSSA playoffs and I wanted them to go in feeling confident and happy about the turnout of this game and they did it,” said Muskie head coach Char Bliss.
“So this was very good for their confidence,” she added.
With just one win in seven tries going into yesterday’s match, the last-place Muskies already knew they will be facing the second-place Broncos in the semi-final tomorrow—with first-place Dryden awaiting the winner.
But the Muskies certainly didn’t look like a 1-6 team yesterday. Instead, they played with poise and composure—and were able to plant a seed of doubt in the heads of Kenora heading into the playoffs.
Considering their only other win also came against Kenora up there last month, Bliss said her team will go into the playoffs confident, but not cocky, because they still have much to prove in a season they hope is far from over.
“It would be so disappointing if they didn’t get past Kenora [in the semi-final], and they will be disappointed,” said Bliss. “It will be the biggest disappointment that they’ve had all year, if they don’t get past Kenora, but Kenora can’t be taken lightly.”
The Muskies controlled the first set of the best-of-five affair yesterday and cruised to a 25-15 win. And though the Broncos improved their play in the second set, it still wasn’t enough as timely serves from Kate Basaraba led to a 25-21 win and a 2-0 lead.
The third set, though, which they lost 25-18, is where the Muskies saw something they’ve seen all season long.
“They started the third game pretty quiet again, and it takes them a good game or two to get into it,” said Bliss.
“They all want to win, and we’ve had this talk over and over again, but sometimes it’s like there are six separate players and they don’t seem together as a team on the floor,” she added.
“That is really going to come into play on Thursday,” Bliss warned. “If they can keep it up and start strong, instead of taking a game or two to build up to it, because Thursday is it.”
The Broncos looked like they might force a fifth and deciding set, tying the score at 7-7 in the fourth one after trailing 6-1.
But the Muskies weren’t discouraged as strong play from Megan Soderholm, Bryden McCoy, and Rylee Broman helped the Muskies to a 25-19 win and the match.
The black-and-gold still must make adjustments if they are to have any success in the playoffs, but after yesterday’s impressive win, the team has made obvious strides since the beginning of the season.
Also making strides was the Muskie junior team, who swept the visiting Broncos yesterday afternoon by scores of 25-20, 25-21, and 25-16 to end their regular season with a 4-4 record.
They also will play the Broncos in the semi-final tomorrow, with the first-place Eagles to face the winner.
The juniors were coming off of a disappointing “Sweetheart” tournament in Dryden over the weekend. They finished in a three-way tie for third but, due to the points differential, wound up in fifth place out of six teams after the round-robin.
The black-and-gold had opened with a 25-18/25-8 loss to Port Arthur Collegiate (Thunder Bay), then fell 25-18/25-15 to the top-ranked Eagles.
The Muskies had been the defending tourney champs.

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