Senior spikers ousted from playoffs

Heading into the NorWOSSA playoffs last week, it appeared the previously undefeated Dryden Eagles would be the team to beat.
But the Kenora Broncos were the best team when it counted, vaulting themselves into the NWOSSAA playoffs against the Thunder Bay champs after sweeping the Muskies and Eagles last Thursday in Dryden.
The Muskies, who were last in league play during the regular season with just two points, were swept 15-12 and 15-8 by Kenora in the best-of-three semi-final.
Then the Broncos went on to shock the Eagles 15-7, 15-13 and 15-11 in the best-of-five final.
“[Kenora] just played unbelievable,” said Muskie co-coach Mike Shute. “I was surprised they won it but you should have seen how they played.
“They just killed Dryden.”
Actually, the Muskies looked to be well on their way against Kenora, building a quick 5-0 lead in the opening game. But the Broncos fought back, slowly chipping away at the Fort’s lead.
Shute said his team played well in the first game but fell victim to poor blocking in the end.
“The first game was wicked but usually you get two or three good blocks a game and we didn’t get a single one,” he said. “And when a player gets a feel for a hit, then that player will gain confidence and continue to hit.”
Shute said their passing, which has improved since the beginning of the season, and their hitting was “good,” adding they used a good combination of tips and hits in their offensive arsenal.
But in the end, the Broncos were just too strong–especially in the second game when they jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead.
Still, it was a tough loss for many of the senior spikers who played their last game in a Muskie uniform. Norma Kallstrom, Angela Shute, Hannah Carter, and Caylee Brow all will be graduating this year.
Meanwhile, after advancing to the all-Ontario championships last season, this year’s last-place finish and quick exit at NorWOSSA will see the team undergo a coaching change next year.
Rick Wiedenhoeft, who coached the senior girls last season but switched to the senior boys’ team this year, will return to the girls’ squad.
Fort High athletic director Bob Grynol said Wiedenhoeft ap-proached him about coaching the club next year, and was given the nod based on his affiliation with the school.
This year’s team was coached by Shute and Caroline Spencer but Grynol said teachers at the high school have first crack at coaching teams over people not employed by the school.