The Muskie senior boys’ volleyball team didn’t win a ton at the Mennonite Brethren Hawks’ tournament in Winnipeg over the weekend.
But they won a lot of confidence, knowing that they played some strong teams pretty well.
Fort High started off with a 2-0 (25-17 and 25-16) loss to seventh-ranked Miles Macdonnell before recording its only win of the weekend, 2-1 (22-25, 25-12 and 15-5) over Whitefish Bay.
From there, the Muskies lost 2-0 (25-8 and 25-12) to third-ranked John Taylor and then 2-0 (25-17 and 25-13) to ninth-ranked Garden Valley.
The 1-3 record placed Fort High fourth in its pool, setting up a meeting with the host Hawks, who sit second in the province.
The Muskies kept things close in a 2-0 (25-14 and 25-18) sweep, but the loss dropped Fort High from the tournament.
Head coach Allison Hyatt was encouraged by the black-and-gold’s play, putting together some of its best performances of the season while playing four of five games against members of the Manitoba Top 10.
“The team played very well,” enthused Hyatt.
“We played some very high-level, high-calibre teams, and they really stepped up and played some of the best games I’ve probably ever seen them play.”
Hyatt was impressed by the way that the squad’s defence has stepped up, keeping some of those matches against high-octane offences within reach.
“Their defence on the weekend was excellent. It has to be when you play a higher team like that or you can’t compete,” reasoned Hyatt.
“The blocking and the digging was the best, so digging up their hits and keeping the plays going was what they were doing very well.”
She pointed to the playoff game against Mennonite Brethren, a perennial powerhouse, as the top match of the tournament, as the Muskies held their own.
“The best game was against MBCI, who was the top seed out of one of the other pools,” she said.
“They’re a very, very good team, and the boys, again, stepped up and played really amazing defence and just went in ready to play and not intimidated.
“Everybody played awesome. In that last game against MBCI, Justin Anderson really stepped up his defence and that was good to see,” she added.
Fort High is getting into the later stages of the NorWOSSA season, as they played their second-last game of the season yesterday, taking a 3-2 (29-27, 20-25, 20-25, 25-23 and 15-10) win over the Kenora Broncos.
The win put the Muskies at 3-4 heading into Thursday’s season finale against the Dryden Eagles at Fort High.
The Muskies will remain comfortable at home, as they host the NorWOSSA championships next Wednesday (Nov. 10).
There are a couple of things Hyatt was hoping to work on in the final pair of league tune-ups, including keeping the intensity high from beginning to end.
“Keeping our consistency from the beginning of the game to the end of the game is something we need to work on,” she stressed.
“We tend, sometimes, to start out a little flat and then pick it up in the middle of the game when we should be starting from the beginning.
“Then it’s just playing our game all the time, so that involves playing our defence, playing that all the time, and then running our plays and running our offence,” she added.
As well, with such a short NorWOSSA season, every chance that a team gets to practice is essential heading into the postseason.
“They’re very important, not necessarily for standings-purposes are they important, but very important to get a last leg-up on both of the teams and try to get a couple of wins and build some confidence, and again just to practice our defence and to practice running our offence,” she said.