Spikers looking to play role of spoilers

It’s been a long season for the Muskie boys’ volleyball program.
Both the junior and senior spikers were winless in NorWOSSA action this season, losing all eight of their regular-season matches.
But despite their woes, both teams are optimistic as they prepare for the NorWOSSA playoffs this Friday in Kenora.
The junior boys’ team was plagued by mental lapses throughout the season.
They either got out to a strong start and blew the lead or fell behind early and could not recover.
That’s a trend head coach Greg Ste. Croix will need to change if they are to upset both the Kenora Broncos and Dryden Eagles later this week.
“I think we can make a run at it,” Ste. Croix said. “I’ve seen pretty much everything. Third to first. Second to first. First to last. It’s all possible.
“We need to get the ball rolling early on Friday and just go set by set. We can’t have any letdowns,” he stressed.
“I think if we just do the little things, we should be all right, but we have to go and play our best volleyball.”
Ste. Croix said his team would not change the routine in practice this week, concentrating instead on the fundamentals of the game. He maintains if the squad plays sound, fundamental volleyball, they can beat any team.
“We have to do all the little things,” he remarked. “We have to serve the ball. We need to pass the ball. We need to set the ball and we need to attack the ball.
“And then we’ve got to play some defence.
“Our big guys in the middle have to start stepping up and blocking some volleyballs,” Ste. Croix added. “When we put that all together, I think we’re a very tenacious team.”
The juniors will face the host Broncos in the semi-final match, with the Eagles awaiting the winner in the final later Friday.
Meanwhile, the senior Muskie spikers are hoping all the potential they’ve shown in practice—and during stretches of matches this season—finally results in a few victories.
Head coach Brian Love has seen a great deal of progress over the past few weeks and is excited about his team’s chances come Friday.
“I’m looking forward to the playoffs and I think they are, too,” he enthused. “They’re starting to believe not only in the system—both offensively and defensively—but in themselves.
“We’ll see what Friday brings.”
Love believes all the physical tools are there for his team to make a run deep into the playoffs. He said it will be the mental aspect of the game that determines whether this squad plays one or two matches in Kenora.
“It’s a question of working on our mental toughness now so that we’re focused, physically loose, and mentally tough,” Love said.
“We know what we have to do, and everyone has to be out there doing it technically correct and with a fire,” he stressed.
Both Muskie squads struggled in their regular-season finales against the visiting Dryden Eagles last Thursday.
The junior Muskies were swept in three sets (25-21, 25-23, and 25-15) while the seniors lost a five-set heartbreaker by scores of 20-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-23, and 11-15.

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