After posting an impressive 15-3 record during round-robin play, the Muskies’ “gold” squad fell to Kenora in the final of the McDonald’s junior volleyball tourney here last weekend.
The Broncos, which also were a split squad, swept the best-of-three final by scores of 15-10 and 15-6. Kenora had finished second in the round-robin with a 13-5 mark.
The Muskie “black” squad wound up at 9-9.
Junior coach Struchan Gilson, who chose to split his squad into two to give all his players plenty of court time, said the tournament was an excellent opportunity to gear up for their season-opener tomorrow in Dryden.
“I was really impressed with my veterans, who played the whole game [throughout], while my rookies only played part-time,” he said.
“And then they would come off and I would talk to them and tell them what they had to do and where they should be playing,” added Gilson, whose junior squad won the NorWOSSA title last season.
Gilson said even though both his squads fared well here, he admitted he was more concerned about identifying where his team stood in terms of talent—and what areas needed the most improvement.
Gilson was impressed with the play of team captain Amy Wilson, who plays the power position, as well as that of setter Tammy Johnson and Siobhan Delvin, a six-foot middle blocker who was a member of the Northwest regional team last summer.
“Siobhan’s going to be awesome for us this year," enthused Gilson. "She’s really improved. Her passing is much better and she’s hitting with power now.”
Gilson said his team didn’t have the chance to get the ball to Devlin as much as he would have liked due to the fact he often had several rookies on the floor.
“I split up both teams evenly, with four veterans on the ‘gold’ team and three on the ‘black,’ so a lot of times when you have a rookie player get the ball and give it to a rookie setter, they’re not always going to get the ball,” he noted.
Also competing here were teams from Dryden, Rainy River, Ignace, Sioux Lookout, Red Lake, and Whitefish Bay.