The Muskie junior boys' volleyball team had a successful season last year and they're hoping for much of the same this time around.
The defending NorWOSSA champions, who defeated the rival Dryden Eagles in four sets in last year's final here to take home gold, have an excellent core of returning players and an intriguing group of rookies this season.
Muskie head coach Terry McMahon is confident his squad will have a great year in league play, which officially kicked off yesterday with the opener in Kenora (set scores unavailable at press time).
“I think our biggest strength will be our athleticism, it is a strong group of athletes. Most will be capable of fulfilling multiple roles, so it will be fun to watch them play,” he enthused.
“And I think we will be strong on our attack. We have good setting and the team is already playing aggressive in practice, so that's something we will be looking to do in games as well.”
New to the team this year are Grade 9s Ethan Barker, Brennan Jourdain, Garrett Paul, Andros Bruyere, Evan Strain, Grayson Burnell, Koda Radigan, Kade Oster, Jersey Masson, and Jaoquin Woolsey.
The returnees include Zak Kellar, Brandon Croswell, Christian Armstrong, Joe Hardy, DJ Payne, and Tristin Yerxa. They all know how to win and will be expected to inspire their younger teammates.
“I am very confident that we can have a successful season,” McMahon remarked.
“With such a strong group of athletes in the gym, I expect them to push each other and make each other better every practice.”
McMahon finalized the roster last week and the team had its first official practice last Monday (Sept. 9).
It's always a quick start and a quick crash course on volleyball ahead of the season-opener, so McMahon noted that the Muskies would be working hard to get up to speed.
“So we will work on our positions, rotations, serve receive, and defence leading up to our first game,” he told the Times last week.
"My only expectations are that we do our best to prepare, we play hard and support our teammates.
“From there we will build on what we started," he vowed. "We will continue to get better and grow as our season progresses.”
All four of the Muskie court sport teams will have their home-openers on Tuesday, Sept. 24 when they welcome the Sioux Lookout Warriors to Fort High.