Senior spikers showing signs of improvement

Jamie Mountain

An 0-3 start to the season could have dampened any team’s spirits, but the Muskie senior boys’ volleyball team opted to take the high road and work hard on improving.
That was evident in their five-set victory over the Kenora Broncos here back on Oct. 4 for their first win of the NorWOSSA season.
It further was exemplified at a weekend tournament hosted by the Dryden Eagles, where the black-and-gold recorded two wins, two losses, and a split in pool play before being ousted in the semi-finals.
“We had some great sets where the team played well and others where we struggled,” Muskie head coach John Gibson recalled.
“The playoff game with St. Ignatius wasn’t our best but it was super close and exciting.”
Fort High had opened play Friday by earning a split with the Kenora Broncos (25-14 /15-25).
Then they beat the Sioux Lookout Warriors in straight sets (25-10/25-22) before getting swept by the Westgate Tigers of Thunder Bay (14-25/23-25).
But the Muskies rebounded with a straight-sets win (25-12/27-25) over the Hammarskjold Vikings (Thunder Bay).
Fort High then ended pool play in the Gold Division on Saturday morning with a straight-sets loss to the Rainy River Owls (18-25/13-25).
The Muskies won their first playoff match by sweeping St. Patrick’s (Thunder Bay) by scores of 25-17 and 25-15.
But the black-and-gold then saw their weekend come to an end with a hard-fought straight-sets loss (24-26/24-26) to the St. Ignatius Falcons (Thunder Bay).
Westgate ended up claiming the tourney title, with the Falcons taking silver and the Warriors nabbing bronze.
“We played clean, our defence kept the balls up, and we passed well enough to run our offence,” Gibson said about his squad’s keys to success in Dryden.
“Ben Smith stood out offensively, and Maverick Smith made huge gains and played with intensity,” he added.
The Muskies were slated to resume NorWOSSA action yesterday when they hosted the Eagles (the outcome was not known as of press time).
Then they hit the road tomorrow to battle the Broncos in Kenora.
Gibson knows the road ahead for his squad won’t be easy and they’ll have to continue to work on improving in all areas.
“Our serving has to be perfect and we need to penetrate our block,” he stressed.
“We give away too many points these ways.
“We want to carry our momentum forward from the [weekend] tourney and focus on reducing unforced errors,” he added.
Gibson feels as though staying upbeat, even in the face of adversity, will be crucial for his squad in the second half of the NorWOSSA season.
“Staying positive if we lose a set, and continuing to play our hardest for every point [and] not fading when we have a lead,” he remarked.
“We continue to improve and it was echoed by other coaches at the [Dryden] tournament.”