Senior spikers split matches at tournament

Dan Falloon

The Muskie boys’ volleyball team was thrilled to get some court time at a tournament in Kenora over the weekend.
The black-and-gold opened play by splitting with Dryden, falling 25-16 in the first set before winning the second one 25-20.
Fort High then got on a roll, sweeping both Pelican Falls First Nation 26-24/25-12 and then Manitouwadge 25-20/25-9.
“For our second and third game, and the first tournament, I was very impressed and proud with how we played,” head coach Allison Hyatt enthused.
But it was the opposite story against Red Lake, who swept the Muskies 25-20/25-19.
Then in the playoff round Saturday morning, Fort High was ousted from further contention after losing 26-24/25-14 to the host Broncos.
Still, Hyatt said she was pleased with much of what she saw after getting her first lengthy look at the team in game conditions.
She noted the squad has great offensive potential, and should be in position to recover possession of the ball if an opponent wins a point.
“I was surprised with our serve-receive passing, so it looks like we’re going to be a very good serve-receive passing team,” Hyatt remarked.
“We will be a very offensive team. We just have to tweak a couple of things,” she noted.
“We just need to get a little quicker and start to run some good plays that we have.”
Defence, however, is an area of greater concern at this point of the season as their NorWOSSA opponents also boast loaded attacks.
“We really need to work on our defence,” Hyatt admitted. “Both Kenora and Dryden have some really strong hitters, so that’ll be one of our focuses.
“Digging up their hits, and digging up tips.
“We really need to adjust to their tips” she stressed. “That really killed us in a couple of games.
“When you’re ready for a big hit and somebody tips, it’s kind of a surprise.”
The weekend tournament also gave Hyatt the chance to mix-and-match different looks out on the court, and was happy to be able to do it in a setting that didn’t cause the Muskies to sacrifice any ground in the NorWOSSA standings.
“We tried a bunch of different lineups, so we got to see who worked well together and what line worked better than others,” she reasoned.
“We tried some people at different positions, so that was nice that we had the opportunity to do that.”
Based on the season’s early developments, Hyatt figured the black-and-gold should be able to remain in the thick of the NorWOSSA hunt, having already taken a couple of sets from the powerhouse Eagles.
Meanwhile, she thinks her crew should be competitive against the Broncos—provided they play at the top of their game.
“I think Dryden will definitely be the tougher test,” Hyatt said. “But we can play with Dryden. We took a couple sets from them.
“When we played Kenora, we went in a little dead, a little dull, and not ready for the game,” she noted.
“Otherwise, we could have taken them.”
All in all, Hyatt just was happy to get an extended look at her team, and pin down exact areas on which to improve.
“We have some stuff to work on that we found over the weekend, but it’s early in the season so that won’t be a problem,” she said.
The senior spikers were the only Muskie court team not to see tournament action before the NorWOSSA regular season began last Thursday in Dryden.
Fort High fall to the host Eagles in four sets.
After Dryden took the opening set 25-20, the Muskies rallied for a 25-18 win in the second one.
But that was as far as the comeback went as the Eagles took the next two 25-13 and 25-21.
In other action from Dryden last Thursday, the Muskie junior boys’ volleyball squad emerged victorious despite falling behind early.
The black-and-gold dropped the first set 25-19 to the host Eagles, but then stormed back to win the next three by scores of 25-15, 25-23, and 25-21.
The senior girls’ basketball team, meanwhile, used a 10-4 third-quarter run to pull away from the Eagles en route to a 33-19 victory.
Fort High was led by Chelsea Hill’s 17 points, with Erika Moffitt adding nine.
Finally, the Muskie junior girls’ basketball team was unable to hold onto an 8-6 halftime lead as the Eagles used a second-half surge to win 20-16.
Alanna Walsh and Jessica Caul each tallied four points for the Muskies, but head coach Dan Bird noted the team was “out-hustled for most of the game.”
But he also was confident about overcoming the early hump as the season goes on.
All four Muskie court teams were back in NorWOSSA action this afternoon (Sept. 29) in Kenora, then will host the Eagles in their home-opener next Tuesday (Oct. 5).