An eight-team junior girls’ volleyball tournament today and tomorrow at Fort High is intended to give Muskie head coach Struchan Gilson a first look at his roster as they begin defence of their NorWOSSA title next week.
Gilson is stressing the tourney as a way to get his team’s feet wet. He will be splitting his 17-player group into two teams, aptly named “Black” and “Gold.”
His two assistants, second-year coach Duane Roen and newcomer Laureen Hill, each will coach a team.
“The only thing we want to do as a team is learn and get better,” said Gilson. “Everyone wants to win but the important thing here is to just get things started.
“We’re trying to get kids as much playing as possible this weekend,” he added.
Dryden, Kenora, St. Thomas Aquinas, Pelican Falls, and two “mini” teams from Atikokan will join the Muskies in the two-pool, round-robin showdown.
The junior squad has nine returning 10th-graders on the roster this season along with eight new faces. It’s a balance Gilson has used in the years he’s coached the program.
“Juniors are a starting point for potential seniors. The more kids you have playing [on the team], the better,” he reasoned. “A big base of players gives us more to choose from down the road.”
Six players from last year’s team, Erin Devlin, Tricia Smith, Kelly Catabay, Christina Romaniuk, Jessica Wilson, and Sarah Busch, have moved up to the senior squad this season.
All four Muskie court teams will begin NorWOSSA play Tuesday in Dryden, with their first home action Thursday (Dec. 13) against Kenora.