With a pair of new coaches, plenty of young players and a new system, the Muskie junior boys’ volleyball team faced plenty of question marks when they took to the court last week for a pre-season tournament.
But in the end, the junior spikers came away with a fourth-place finish in the nine-team showdown at Fort High.
The Muskies fell 15-4 and 15-12 to Ignace in the semi-finals, then were beaten by the Dryden Eagles in the consolation final (no scores were available).
Atikokan went on to capture the tournament title with a victory over Ignace in the final (no scores were available).
Still, the Muskies were pleased with their fourth-place showing. In fact, the rookie coaching duo of Adrian Chapman and Larry Godin said they were impressed with the way their team played.
“They really hustled a lot and played harder than they had during the practices during the week," offered Chapman. ”Every player is 100 percent better than when they first came out with us.
“Right now it’s all potential.”
“Every day, every practice, they get better,” agreed Godin, noting the team practises five days a week.
“The last three days before the tournament, we were teaching them fundamentals and techniques and they ended up playing pretty well,” he added.
Both also praised the play of Evan Woodland, John Sivonen and Dan Mihichuk during the two-day tourney.
Still, the coaches said the one area the team must improve upon is its passing, which both agreed “must get higher” to better set up their 5-1 offensive attack, which uses one setter and a pair of hitters at the front of the net.
“The passes are going to get higher, it’s going to happen,” stressed Chapman, adding the team has yet to designate a number-one setter.
“The seniors also use the 5-1 so we figured we might as well use it, too,” he noted.
The juniors open the NorWOSSA regular season Sept. 25 when they host the Kenora Broncos.