Senior spikers hope to set playoff tone against Kenora

The Muskie senior boys’ volleyball team are looking at today’s final regular-season match against the Kenora Broncos here as a springboard to the playoffs.
The team will finish in second-place regardless of today’s outcome, and meet the third-place Dryden Eagles in the NorWOSSA semi-final up there Nov. 12.
The winner will advance to the final against the first-place Broncos later that day.
While the black-and-gold have had their share of trouble beating the Eagles this season (though coming off a 3-2 win in their best-of-five showdown there last Thursday), they’ve had their sights on playing Kenora in the final since the opening serve.
But the black-and-gold can’t take the Eagles lightly–particularly playing on their home court. The Muskies had to fight back from an 8-1 deficit in the fifth and deciding game to nip Dryden in the see-saw affair last week.
The Muskies won the first game easily 25-11 but then lost the next one 25-23. They rebounded to take the third 25-23 but then lost another close one 25-22 to send the match to a fifth game.
Still, the Muskies boast an array of power hitters who should give the Eagle blockers trouble. The key will be to get out to an early lead, build momentum, and then carry that enthusiasm into the final against Kenora.
Certainly, today’s match could go a long way in building up the team’s confidence. A win against Kenora–especially a lopsided one–could put the senior spikers on the right path to a trip to NWOSSAA.
Meanwhile, the junior Muskies head into today’s match still looking for their first win of the season. But while winless at 0-7, the team has come oh so close to tasting victory.
In fact, five of their seven losses have been five-game affairs, including their match last Thursday in Dryden.
After opening with a convincing 25-7 win in the first game, the Muskies lost the next one 25-18 but then took the third in tight fashion 25-23.
But the Eagles staved off defeat with a 25-19 win in the fourth game, then wrapped up the comeback with a 15-9 win in the deciding game.
Head coach Duane Roen said his team was “cracking under pressure” in the fifth game, suddenly having trouble serving–losing their serve on six separate occasions, including hitting four into the net.
“We didn’t miss a serve in the first [game] and that makes a difference in the whole game,” he noted. “We’ve been working on our serving and we’ll continue to work on it this week, along with our positioning.”
The Muskies suffered a serious blow when their power hitter, Billy Whitecrow, was lost midway through the second game, taking a big chunk out of their offensive attack.
But Roen said he expected Whitecrow to be ready to play today.
He also admitted conditioning remains a problem for his squad but added he can see the team getting better and that the “potential is there.”
He said several of his younger players are getting much better as the season wears on, particularly setter Nick Trapp and Geoff Gerley in the middle.