Small squad of senior spikers looking to rebound

Dan Falloon

A number of veteran Muskies will be looking to clear a sour taste from their mouths when the senior boys’ volleyball squad kicks off its NorWOSSA season tomorrow in Dryden.
Kept out of the win column last season, it will be up to a relatively small squad of 11 players, including seven returnees, to right the ship in 2010.
However, a quartet of junior players making the jump should provide a boost given last year’s junior squad lost just once—albeit coming in the NorWOSSA final against the Eagles.
“Every year is a new year,” stressed former junior head coach Duane Roen, now an assistant coach for the senior squad this season.
“There were a lot of the boys that played junior last year that were very successful, so we’re hoping we can put that all together and create a team that’s going to have some positive outcomes,” he remarked.
Roen already thinks the team will has the ability to put some points on the board, just as long as it can fine-tune its plays as the season progresses.
“We seem to be very strong offensively,” he observed. “We were starting in on that [on Monday] with getting our plays figured out, so we’ve got to that point.
“They’re a good bunch of boys, so I assume that we’ll do fine as long as our passes get up to the setter,” Roen added.
“That’ll be our biggest issue, as it is with any team.”
Roen, who is assisting head coach Allison Hyatt, noted Fort High’s height should put them at an advantage this season.
“We have two strong setters and some big hitters, and a lot of height,” he enthused. “Most kids are six feet and taller.
“We should have a strong blocking team and should be able to keep the ball on their side and put the ball on their side, as long as we can get it up to our setter,” he stressed.
“I think we’ll do all right.”
The senior spikers were the only Muskie court team not to have seen any tournament action prior to the season, and Roen conceded the black-and-gold will have to hit the ground running as best they can tomorrow in Dryden.
“Thursday will be interesting,” he acknowledged. “We’ll certainly put the feelers out because Dryden and Kenora are the teams that we need to beat.”
In their upcoming games, including a tournament in Kenora this weekend, Fort High will have to be able to adapt quickly, not just during competition but also in practice leading up to their second NorWOSSA match next Wednesday (Sept. 29) versus the host Broncos.
“We’re going to try out a variety of different scenarios and see which ones work best, so we can design our practices next week around that,” Roen explained.
“We’ll see what’s not working well so we can address those concerns as quickly as possible.”
With just 11 players, including four Grade 11s, five Grade 12s, and two over-age players, Roen anticipates each one will get more opportunities to grow, especially in practice.
Court time in games, though, still will go to whichever players have earned it.
“At this level, these kids are all going to be competing for their time, so it’s nice, healthy competition,” he added.
“And as long as we don’t accumulate a number of injuries, I think it’s a positive.”