It was a weekend to remember for the Muskie senior girls’ volleyball team.
The black-and-gold went a perfect 7-0 en route to claiming the title at the Tiger Spike-off tournament held Friday and Saturday in Thunder Bay.
Fort High beat the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (Kenora) in three sets by scores of 25-14, 14-25, and 16-14 in Saturday’s final to snare the gold.
Muskie head coach Duane Roen was pleased with how his squad became more vocal and more positive as the tournament progressed.
“The positive energy was contagious and took its toll on our opponents,” he noted.
“We fought hard and took risks at the right time.
“Our second set against T.A. was not going well for us physically, but we maintained a positive mental outlook and began to gain momentum at the end of that set, which continued into the final set,” Roen recalled.
“It went back-and-forth with both teams taking risks to score points,” he added.
“It was a very exciting match to be a part of and I’m very proud of how the team matured over this weekend.”
The Muskies went into the weekend tournament fresh off of a 3-0 win (25-21, 25-22, and 25-19) over the Kenora Broncos (0-3) on Thursday afternoon at Fort High that improved their NorWOSSA record to 3-0.
The black-and-gold also had beaten the Dryden Eagles (1-1) here last Tuesday in four sets (25-23, 25-17, 22-25, and 25-18).
Fort High will cap first-half league play against those same Eagles tomorrow in Dryden, with Roen noting his squad would be working on ball control moving forward.
“We are working on ball control, especially setting as many kids were called in Thunder Bay for lifts,” he remarked.
“We are still working on our lineups to find that group that works best together.
“We have the physical presence and skill to be successful this season,” Roen stressed.
“Strong mental preparation and execution in tough situations are key to ending the first half of the NorWOSSA season on a high note.”
As for the tourney in Thunder Bay, the black-and-gold went 4-0 through round-robin play, which included straight-sets wins over the St. Patrick Saints (25-13, 25-19), Atikokan Voyageurs (25-23, 25-13), Manitouwadge Wolverines (25-10, 25-12), and La Verendrye Vipers (25-5, 25-11) to finish first in Pool White.
The Muskies then downed the Voyageurs in the quarter-finals (25-17, 25-17) to set up a semi-final showdown against the Eagles.
Dryden ultimately was no match as the Muskies cruised to another straight-sets victory (25-22 and 25-14) to book their spot in the final against the Saints.
“All players on the team stepped up in their role this weekend,” Roen lauded. “I can count on each player to work their hardest for the team when they are out there.
“Pasquel [Shortreed] and Alina [Eldridge] have been instrumental in each game,” he added.
“Alina is doing very well running our offence and following the game plan,” he noted. “Pasquel has been a great role model on the court with her fiery grit and explosive movement.
“Grace [Petsnick] has also stepped up her game by minimizing errors, taking calculated risks,” Roen said.
“But most important, Grace has become the leader of our cheer section, getting everyone involved both on the bench and on the court.
“Simone [Payne] played very well in Thunder Bay with strong serving and fast, accurate backcourt defence,” he added.