The Muskie senior boys’ volleyball team will head into the NorWOSSA season with the notion “it’s not where you start but where you finish.”
That’s because Rick Wiedenhoeft, who coached the squad to an all-Ontario berth last season, will inherit a team that has definite question marks in some key positions.
“We should be okay by the second half of the season," he said last week. "In the first half, they’re going to go through the idiosyncrasies and they’ll learn off each other.”
With the loss of power hitter Steve Robertson to the University of Windsor, as well as John Steele and Ryan Redsky, the Muskies will have some huge holes to fill.
“That may hurt us,” he admitted.
Still, the Muskies boast the talents of power hitter Chris Wiedenhoeft, setter Jason Jones, and 6’,5" middle blocker John Ottertail—all three who played on the region’s under-17 squad last year.
And it’s a trio that gives the Muskies a depth of talent at three key positions.
Wiedenhoeft called Jones “an excellent setter who is one of the best in the league.” He added Jones no doubt will be the key component to the Muskies’ offensive attack, setting up younger Wiedenhoeft from the power position and Chad Avis from the weak side.
On the other side of the ball, Wiedenhoeft praised Ottertail’s size as being an integral part to their defensive play this season.
“You have to have size at the senior level," he stressed. "You always have to work on your defence, and if you can’t block, then you’re going to have to do a lot of digging.”
Besides Ottertail and 6’,2“ Tim Lamb, Wiedenhoeft also said the "rest of team is short,” making him ponder how to best utilize the talent he has on the court.
“We have fairly decent team speed and we should be quick to the ball,” he noted.
The Muskie senior and junior boys’ volleyball teams will see their first action of the season Friday and Saturday when they host a tournament at Fort High.