The NorWOSSA regular season is now in the rear-view mirror and both Muskie boys' volleyball teams are eager to get the playoffs underway.
Fort High won't have to wait long as the Dryden Eagles will play host this Friday, with NorWOSSA gold up for grabs.
The Muskie seniors dumped the Sioux Lookout Warriors 2-1 in the regular season-finale last Tuesday afternoon at Fort High and were able to qualify as they nabbed the third-and-final playoff spot in finishing league play with a 3-6 record.
“It was critical, for us it was our first playoff game,” Muskie coach John Gibson said of last Tuesday's home win over the Warriors (1-8).
“We had to win to place third in the standings. This is something that I really disagree with in our league now that it is four teams . . . Only the top three make the playoffs, unlike the single-'A' schools who have a four-team, two-day playoff format.”
The third-ranked Muskies will square off against the second-place host Eagles (5-4) on Friday morning for the right to advance to play the unbeaten Kenora Broncos (9-0) that evening.
“We are on a 'four-match' win streak, including a win over Dryden,” Gibson noted.
"We have momentum and we just need to keep it going through the semifinal and final matches.
“If we play as good as I know we can, and we have seen this in some sets this year, then we should win,” he reasoned.
“Our biggest challenge will be ourselves . . . staying positive and minimizing errors.”
As for last Tuesday's win over the Warriors here, the Muskies started off strong in winning the first set by a 25-20.
Then after dropping the second set by a narrow 25-23 margin, the black-and-gold capped things off with a 25-16 victory in the third set.
“They regained their composure after slipping in the second set and played a much cleaner third-and-final set,” lauded Gibson.
As for the junior squad, they finished the regular season in second place with a 5-4 record after dropping a 2-1 decision to the unbeaten Warriors (9-0) here last Tuesday.
After winning the first set 25-21, the Muskies lost the final two sets by scores of 25-15 and 25-19 much to the chagrin of their coach.
“I don't mind losing but when we don't play to our abilities and lose it's always disappointing,” said Terry McMahon.
“We let our negativity seep in and took ourselves out of the game,” he admitted.
“Sioux Lookout did nothing spectacular, they had a couple nice hits, but for the most part it was our own doing.”
McMahon is hopeful his squad can rebound in Friday morning's semifinal, where they will face the third-place host Eagles (4-5) for the right to advance to face the Warriors in the championship match that afternoon.
“We have had a good talk as a team and made a few changes, we will work hard all week and be prepared on Friday,” he vowed.
"Our biggest challenge will be staying positive and sticking to our game. My only expectations for the team is that we play hard and play together.
“If we do that, I think everything else will take care of itself,” McMahon assured.