Owls’ senior spikers excited for playoffs

Jamie Mountain

They may have finished with the same record but the Rainy River Owls’ senior and junior boys’ volleyball teams had much different conclusions in the NorWOSSA ‘A’ regular-season finale last Wednesday afternoon at RRHS.
Both squads wound up at 5-3 after defeating the visiting Red Lake Rams but only the seniors managed to qualify for the NorWOSSA semi-final today in Kenora (the outcome wasn’t known as of press time).
The senior Owls swept the Rams 3-0 (25-12, 25-16, and 25-7) and head coach Guy Arpin was thrilled with how his squad battled out on the court.
“Our team played very well as a whole,” he remarked. “We spent a lot of time working on the little things that I harp about all the time and it is paying off.
“It was nice to have everyone back in their positions before the playoffs,” he added.
The Owls were to face the Atikokan Voyageurs in the semi-final, with the winner advancing to play the host St. Thomas Aquinas Saints tomorrow.
Arpin knew his squad would be in tough against a very skilled Voyageurs’ team.
“We love the role of the underdog,” he remarked. “Ryan [Atikokan’s coach] knows that we can play and knows that he can’t look beyond us yet.
“We are going into the game with a nothing-to-lose attitude and we will leave everything on the floor,” he vowed.
“My wish for my guys is to play their best and then there is nothing to hang your heads about, win or lose!”
Arpin noted that due to lower numbers, his team always was challenged in matches this season but was pleased they managed to make the playoffs.
“Our goal to start the season was to qualify for the NorWOSSA playoffs,” he said. “We have accomplished our first goal.
“We have readjusted our goals now and will work hard to get there.
“I am very pleased with the season, they worked hard,” Arpin lauded.
“We turned some heads in the Dryden tournament beating a lot of big schools, Westgate’s only loss this year is to us,” he added, noting that “it was a break-out year for a few of our players.”
The junior squad, meanwhile, downed the visiting Rams 3-1 (25-16, 25-19, 21-25, and 25-16) last Wednesday but their 5-3 record wasn’t enough to qualify for the playoffs.
The Owls started the season 0-2 before rebounding to eventually finish above .500.
“We weren’t prepared at the start of the season and the first two losses didn’t allow us to make playoffs,” conceded Owls’ head coach Corey Smith.