Vipers’ squad struggles

Jamie Mountain

It was a grind for the local Vipers’ 15U girls’ volleyball team this past weekend.
The squad was in Atikokan on Saturday to compete in a few exhibition matches but struggled to find consistency.
The Vipers first took on the Atikokan Voyageurs’ senior girls’ squad, dropping the first set by a 25-15 margin.
“To be honest, we had our ups and downs this weekend,” head coach Bob Kowal conceded.
“We played the AHS senior team the first match of the day and had a terrible start, losing big 25-15.”
The Vipers then squandered a big lead in the second set en route to losing the match.
“We were up by quite a bit in the second set and were winning 21-15 but lost,” Kowal noted.
“I didn’t make any lineup changes as I wanted all the kids to play but we were in funk, for sure,” he added.
The Vipers seemed to get back on track by handling the Superior North Volleyball Club 16Us with relative ease.
“The kids were very efficient, and played calm and composed,” lauded Kowal.
“The SNVC is quite good and have some really good athletes, but we just kept them off balance with good ball control and smart hitting,” he remarked.
Since there only were three teams on hand, the Vipers then played the Voyageurs again but still didn’t have a good performance.
“It was disappointing for many reasons, but mostly because we hosted the games at AHS to showcase our four Atikokan athletes in their home town,” Kowal said.
“Then we played the SNVC again and won two of the three sets, but again made many unforced errors and played really soft,” he added.
“It was supposed to be an opportunity for some kids to show how they might be able to help at provincials, but I left feeling more uncertain than I hoped about how some might be able to contribute,” Kowal admitted.
The squad next will be in action at the Manitoba Volleyball Association’s provincial championships slated for this Saturday and Sunday in Winnipeg.
“We have been ranked in the 14th position for provincials,” noted Kowal.
“Our goal is to finish in the top 10.
“[But] last year at nationals, the top three teams in the country came from Manitoba, so we definitely have our work cut out for us,” he warned.