Spikers lose close playoff game

“As luck would have it . . . we didn’t have much.”
That’s how John Gibson described the Muskie senior boys’ volleyball team’s showing in their semi-final match at a tournament in Thunder Bay on the weekend.
They lost two close sets by scores of 26-24 and 25-23 to St. Ignatius (Thunder Bay) on Saturday to end the tourney on a low note, but the Muskies resembled Lucky the Leprechaun on their way to that playoff game.
“When the guys were on and played well, they looked awesome,” Gibson said. “The passes were there, the sets were on, and it looked beautiful.
“When they weren’t on, like in the semi-final game [against St. Ignatius], they dropped down and they played to the level of the competition,” he added.
Elements of the game, like defensive line positioning as well as transition on free balls and off-hits, need to be worked upon as the Muskies were slow in their transition against the Falcons.
Then again, suspect calls by the officials on hand balls didn’t help matters, either.
“The game was [ours] to win or lose. [We] did have a lead in the first game and did lose it at about 18 points,” recalled Gibson. “We had a few tough calls on ball handling and that kind of took the wind out of [our] sails.”
The Muskies opened the seven-team Thunderwolves tourney with wins over Dryden, who had advanced to the all-Ontarios last year, and St. Pat’s (Thunder Bay), but fell short of going perfect on Friday when they lost to Westgate (Thunder Bay).
“The team is really starting to gel and we are looking forward to tomorrow’s playoffs,” Gibson had written in an e-mail late Friday night.
But though they ended with a loss, things really couldn’t have gone better for the teams, said Gibson, who noted how much the black-and-gold had improved from their performance at a Kenora tournament the previous week where they went 1-5.
“They improved a lot from the first tournament we had, but it was still streaky,” he noted.
Muskies Scott Gurski and David Fagerdahl played well enough to be named to the tournament all-star team, which drew applause from Gibson, who was especially pleased with Fagerdahl since he is a team captain.
“I was really happy to present the award to Fagerdahl. He’s been an awesome libero [defensive specialist] for us and he’s a senior guy,” said Gibson. “He’s always picking up the guys on the court.
“He gets them ready and gets them focused, and makes the passes to run the offence and shows his leadership out there.”