After looking sluggish in a 17-15 loss to the Atikokan Voyageurs to open their best-of-five match here yesterday afternoon, the Muskie senior boys’ volleyball team suddenly woke up in the second game—and then almost blew it.
Tied at 4-4, the black-and-gold went on a seven-point run thanks to the strong serving of Chad Avis. The Muskies increased that lead to 13-5 but allowed Atikokan to roar back to tie the score at 14-14.
Fortunately, the hosts regained their composure and won the final two points for a narrow 16-14 victory.
After surviving that scare, the Muskies went on to take the next two games 15-4 and 15-9 to win the match 3-1. Jeff Campbell, who filled in as head coach yesterday, said winning game two was the difference.
“I was extremely happy that we came back after blowing the lead to win,” said Campbell, normally the team’s assistant coach. “Everyone got in sync and played well as a team.
“They really played well after getting slow out of the gate. They weren’t really into the game [at first],” he added.
“The coaches thought we really had to win that one and we really came together as a unit,” said Muskie veteran Jason Jones, who had another stellar match for the black-and-gold.
“It was important that we win that second game against a good team to give us confidence,” added setter Mike Anderson. “Once we won that second game, it gave us a boost.”
Jones, who started the season by moving to the power hitter spot from his normal setter’s position in the team’s 5-1 setup, said they have benefited from switching recently to a new 6-2 format.
“We now always have three hitters and when they have three blockers on us, then that means there is only one blocker for each guy,” he noted.
“With a 5-1, we only have one setter up front, but now we always have three hitters,” noted Campbell. “And if worse comes to worse and we have a bad set, we still have three spots to hit from.”
Meanwhile, the Muskie junior boys’ spikers also pulled off a comeback win here yesterday. After winning the first game 15-2, Atikokan took the next two 15-3 and 15-6.
But with their backs to the wall, the black-and-gold pulled off 15-9 and 15-3 wins to grab the best-of-five match 3-2.
Junior head coach Duane Roen said he was pleased with his team’s victory, and noted the Muskies keep on getting better and better with each game.
“We played solid in our first game and then we had our second line in [in the second game] and we didn’t play as well until we called a couple of timeouts and I told them how I wanted them to play,” Roen said after the game.
“But our guys are getting stronger all the time,” he added. “They are moving more and covering tips. They are getting so much better, especially our setters.”
Both volleyball teams resume NorWOSSA action tomorrow when they travel to Kenora to play Thomas Aquinas.