The Muskie senior girls’ volleyball team lost its sixth-straight NorWOSSA match this season, dropping a hard-fought battle against the front-running Dryden Eagles there Saturday afternoon.
But despite being swept 15-13, 15-11, and 15-4, the Muskie coaches were pleased with certain aspects of the match.
Co-coach Caroline Spencer said the serving of Norma Kallstrom was excellent. Her setting, along with that of Lynne Pollard, also was impressive, giving the team’s hitters a chance to "find the holes."
The Muskies, who advanced to the all-Ontarios last year, have only picked up a single point out of a possible 18 so far this season to remain mired in last place in the three-team league.
But because all three teams make the playoffs, the black-and-gold still have an outside shot at advancing to NWOSSAA when they return to Dryden for the NorWOSSA showdown Feb. 27.
The coaches continue to find positives in the losses, and hope the team keeps improving down the stretch.
"The team is improving in all areas of play and are gaining confidence in their decision-making," said Spencer. "[We’re] very impressed with the team play, and are looking for more improvement against Kenora in the last two league games before NorWOSSA."
The Muskies played in Kenora this afternoon [no score was available at press time], then will host the Broncos here next Tuesday to wrap up their regular-season schedule.
< B>< *c>Juniors fight back
Meanwhile, the junior Muskies stormed back Saturday after losing the first game 13-15 to the Eagles to take the final two by scores of 15-8 and 15-2.
The victory ensured the Muskies first place in NorWOSSA and a bye to the league final against either Dryden or Kenora.
"We’re doing very well so far," said head coach Struchan Gilson. "We’ve locked up first spot and have a bye so we’ve decided to step our level of play up a bit by adding a different blocking system [for the playoffs]."
Gilson said they will try to shut down their opponents’ penetration through the middle by adding an extra blocker. He noted that’s where teams set up most of their hits so it makes the most sense to try plug that area near the net.
"But I leave the changes up to my players to make on the court," he explained. "It shows that they are thinking out there."
Gilson also said his team has to avoid the slow starts in their first game of a match. In five of their first six NorWOSSA matches this season, the Muskies have lost the first game--a trend Gilson hopes will end soon.
"We seem to start slow and make mistakes and the other team plays well," he noted Gilson.