If the Muskie girls’ soccer team hopes to win NWOSSAA gold this weekend, they’ll have to do it without their head coach.
Struchan Gilson badly cut the end of his left index finger Wednesday while doing house chores, forcing the longtime coach to stay behind Friday morning as the team left for Manitouwadge to face the host team and St. Ignatius (Thunder Bay) in the round-robin showdown Saturday.
The winner advances to the all-Ontarios in Brockville next week.
“I decided there was no way I was going to do a nine-hour bus ride [to Manitouwadge]. I can’t even do up my own shoes,” Gilson said while recovering from home Friday morning.
Fort High teacher Doris Barton is accompanying the team as staff supervisor while regular assistant coach Mandy Wilson will patrol the sidelines for the girls, who are in search for the program’s first NWOSSAA gold medal in seven years.
Gilson, who has coached the program for all of its 16 years, guided the team to a 10-0 record in NorWOSSA play this season. Despite his absence, he’s confident the team still will do well in Manitouwadge.
“At this point, if I haven’t taught them anything, I haven’t done my job,” he said “The kids will do just fine.”
In related news, the Muskie boys’ team headed off to Thunder Bay on Friday morning for their NWOSSAA showdown tomorrow, which will feature Manitouwadge and the Lakehead champs, who will be crowned tonight.
The Thunder Bay final between St. Ignatius and Port Arthur Collegiate was postponed for a second time Thursday night due to lightning.