Over-confidence sinks junior spikers

A few hours had passed and Duane Roen still had no idea what he would tell his players.
The head coach of the Muskie junior girls’ volleyball team still was speechless over his squad’s stunning 3-1 loss to the host Kenora Broncos in the NorWOSSA semi-final last Thursday.
Well, almost speechless.
“I haven’t talked to the girls yet. We are going to have a chat, though,” said Roen.
“I’m just going to say how much of a better team they are, but when they needed to put it on the court, it just wasn’t there today,” he added. “But I really don’t know what to tell them, to be honest.”
One way he could have begun was by reflecting on how the team started out against a Broncos squad they had beaten in straight sets just two days earlier at Fort High.
The Muskies led 19-15 at one point during the first set, which prompted a time-out by Kenora.
And the Broncos used the break wisely as they were able to cut the score to 23-21, tie things at 23-23, take the lead at 24-23, and then win by a 25-23 margin.
A 25-20 Kenora win followed in the second set. And though the Muskies battled back with a 25-18 victory in the third set, the Broncos sealed the upset by taking the fourth one 25-19.
The black-and-gold obviously were emotional over the loss—evident by the trail of tears as they walked to the visitor’s locker-room. But what was disappointing was that they couldn’t say they left all they had on the court.
The Muskies didn’t play their best match last Thursday. In fact, they probably played one of their worst of the season—and did it against a team they had swept (4-0) during the regular season.
They came into the playoffs confident, but like a racehorse, that confidence had narrowed the Muskies’ vision. They clearly were thinking ahead to the final against the first-place Dryden Eagles, rather than on the task of first beating the third-place Broncos in the semi-final.
And they knew it.
“We just got too full of ourselves, and thought we could do it without trying,” said Emily Haggberg.
“We’re really disappointed because we beat them Tuesday night in straight sets and today [Thursday] we couldn’t even beat them twice,” noted Robyn Gurniak.
“We’re not mad at ourselves because we know we did good and tried our best, it’s just that we beat them before,” echoed Jenna Gogosha. “We’re disappointed because we didn’t get to play Dryden and that’s who we wanted to play.”
“We were ready for Dryden, but we weren’t ready for Kenora,” Roen admitted.
Dryden later beat Kenora to win the gold medal.
Even leading up to the NorWOSSA playoffs, the Muskies—who had gone 0-4 against Dryden during the regular season—practised for the Eagles and not Kenora.
So was it an oversight by the Muskies? From their expressions and words afterwards, it certainly appeared so.
“We spent all week strategizing against Dryden, and how we were going to play against them today [Thursday], and we never really thought about Kenora,” said Roen.
“I think maybe the girls were a bit over-confident. They were really seeing the game against Kenora as just a stepping stone to a Dryden final,” he added.
One of the first rules in sport, and in life for that matter, is to focus on the task at hand. That task was beating Kenora, but the Muskies had Dryden on their minds and, in the end, they paid for that mistake with their season.
“We thought we were going to win, and everyone’s really upset because we knew that we could go a lot better,” said Gurniak.

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