Volleyball teams struggling early on

At the end of the season, the Muskie junior boys’ volleyball team may well point to an abysmal set versus the Dryden Eagles as the turning point.
The black-and-gold were awful during the opening set of their best-of-five match against the visiting Eagles last Thursday afternoon—losing by a score of 25-9.
As the team gathered around head coach Greg Ste. Croix between sets, he implored his charges to show some passion and compete.
The talk seemed to inspire the team as the Muskies promptly came out and took the second set 25-20.
The black-and-gold went on to lose the next two sets by scores of 25-21 and 25-23 to fall to 0-3 on the year, but the passion with which they competed against a very good Dryden team had Ste. Croix feeling optimistic about the rest of the season.
“It’s absolutely crushing to watch that level of volleyball [seen in the first set],” Ste. Croix said after the match. “But when you set a challenge and they immediately respond, that’s what you want to see.”
“It changes the season, I believe,” he added.
“We’ll have some lapses here and there, but when we get back next week and get going, we should be good,” Ste. Croix vowed. “I’m definitely looking forward to it and I think the kids are, too.”
Ste. Croix was particularly pleased with the black-and-gold’s serving after the first set, noting the Muskies only missed one serve over the course of the final three.
And he believes if he can get consistent effort from his players throughout the rest of the regular season, they should be in good shape come playoff time.
“It’s a matter of getting eight to 10 guys who go on the floor and play at the best of their ability all the time—not five or six points, take five or six points off,” he said.
“It’s that consistency we’re trying to achieve and it’s very difficult in junior ball,” he conceded.
< *c>Senior boys
Inconsistency also continues to plague the Muskie senior boys’ volleyball squad.
The black-and-gold played two very competitive sets against a quality Eagles’ opponent here last Thursday before stumbling in the third and final one.
But despite their struggles, and the fact the team remains winless on the season, head coach Brian Love remains optimistic.
“Those first two sets say it all,” Love remarked. “We’re beginning to get control of the little things.”
Love singled out the team’s serving game as a key factor in their successes and failures.
“We served our first clean set that first set,” he said of Fort High’s extremely competitive 25-22 opening loss to Dryden.
The Muskies continued to serve the ball well in the second set and the results were identical as the home side came up just short, losing 25-22.
But while the first two sets were competitive affairs, the third one was anything but as the Eagles dominated the Muskies 25-14. Once again, Love pointed to the service game as the contributing factor.
“In the third set, we lost by 11 [points] and we turned the ball over seven times on the serve,” he noted.
“We put our senior guys out there and I think they were putting a little too much pressure on themselves and they were trying to prove something instead of just looking after the basics, doing their jobs, and playing their positions,” Love added.
Despite the poor third set performance, Love remains confident and is preaching patience.
“It’s going to come and when it does, it’s going to be like a dam bursting,” he pledged.
“Over 50 percent of our guys are new to senior ball at Fort High so it’s going to be a while, but I’m convinced that the boys are going to reap the benefits of the hard work that they’ve done in practice.”
Both volleyball teams are back in action Kenora tomorrow (Oct. 12) in Kenora starting at 3 p.m.

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