When the Muskie senior boys’ volleyball team headed to the all-Ontarios in St. Thomas last week, they knew their opponents would be bigger, stronger, and faster than the ones here in the northwest.
And to be able to compete, they knew they’d have to bring their ‘A’ game to the court.
But that didn’t happen--and the result was an 0-4 record and a quick exit from OFSAA.
“I think we played pretty poorly,” veteran setter Mike Anderson admitted. “We played our worst games of the season.”
“It was tough, I don’t know what happened,” echoed Evan Woodland. “Our passing and serving wasn’t very good, and we didn’t adjust to their hits.
“They were hitting at our attack line,” he added.
And it showed as the 11th-ranked Muskies were swept in all three of their matches Friday in Pool ‘C’ play--falling 25-17/25-19 to Ernestown (Odessa), 25-14/25-15 to Eastview (Barrie), and 25-23/25-20 to Cobourg D.C.I. East.
Then they were ousted from the 16-team tournament after losing the deciding game of the best-of-three match to Osgoode Township (Metcalfe) in the consolation quarter-finals Saturday.
After winning the first game 25-20, the black-and-gold couldn’t finish off their opponents--losing the next two by scores of 25-14 and 15-11.
John McGregor (Chatham) won the gold medal with a 25-23, 25-12, 17-25, and 25-13 victory over Orangeville while Eastview took the bronze with a 25-22/25-12 win against Cobourg.
Despite dropping all four of their matches, Muskie head coach Adrian Chapman felt their losses could be attributed to the talent level of the other teams.
“I don’t believe [we] played that poorly,” he noted. “We just didn’t come up with the big point and those other teams were really amazing. We definitely had to step up and play above our capabilities and I think we did that sometimes.”
The black-and-gold also had trouble with the height of their opponents. Both Woodland and Anderson said each team they faced had a dominating player in the 6’8”, 6’9”, or in one case, 6’11” range.
That, combined with some shoddy serving by the black-and-gold, often giving their opponents “six or seven points each game,” was a recipe for disaster.
“We had one of the smallest and youngest teams there,” Anderson noted. “Our first and third [matches], we should have won if we would have played like we did against Kenora.
“We lacked intensity and we weren’t hyped up,” he admitted.
“The big factor was the other teams’ rosters, which were full of experienced players, and my team was really young,” said Chapman, though excited about the team’s prospects for next season.
“We’ll know more as to what to expect next year [but] I was really proud of them,” he remarked.