It's been a dream start to the NorWOSSA season for both the Muskie senior and junior girls' volleyball teams.
The juniors made quick work of the host Dryden Eagles (0-4) back on Dec. 20 with a 3-0 win to head into the Christmas break in first place with an unblemished 4-0 record.
Although his team was impressive in sweeping the Eagles, Muskie head coach Bob Kowal conceded his players looked tired on the court due to how many matches they've played so far.
“We looked like a tired team but that is understandable as they have played a lot of volleyball to this point,” he reasoned.
“We practised last week in order to get rid of some of the rust from the break but we're very happy that we're winning even when we're not at our best.”
Kowal said the Muskies have played very well over the first half of the season, and that some players have expanded their roles on the team.
“With that being said, we look forward to the challenge of the remainder of the season,” he remarked.
"We'll continue to work on improving our offence as we attempt to create a quicker offence.
“It'll make our team a little harder to play against as we move forward and they'll need to have those skills when they go to senior volleyball,” Kowal stressed.
The squad resumed NorWOSSA action yesterday against the host Kenora Broncos (2-2), with the outcome not known as of press time.
Then they'll cap the week by playing at the “Winter Blast” tournament hosted by those same Broncos this Friday and Saturday.
“Our team goals remain the same for the year—to continue to keep playing Muskie volleyball: sound passing, solid defence, and an opportunistic offence,” Kowal said.
“If we continue to do that, we'll have a great ending for the year.”
The senior Muskies, meanwhile, also improved their league record to 4-0 with a 3-1 victory over the host Eagles (2-2) back on Dec. 20.
After losing the first set 25-4, the black-and-gold rattled off three-straight wins by scores of 25-10, 25-17, and 25-14 to claim the match.
“Our ability to regroup after a disastrous first set and confidently win the next three,” head coach Duane Roen cited as the main thing that stood out to him in the win over Dryden.
“We are getting better every day but we still have moments of inconsistency,” he noted.
“But they are keeping their mental game in check.”
The seniors also resumed league action yesterday against the host Broncos (0-4), with the outcome not known as of press time.
Then they'll cap the week by playing at the same “Winter Blast” as the juniors this Friday and Saturday in Kenora.
Roen stressed the importance of his squad staying healthy, both mentally and physically, in order to keep having success in the second half of the season.
“We are playing a lot of volleyball in the next few weeks, in addition to studying for exams,” he noted.
"Playing through tough situations [will be key], making smart plays at crucial points in the set, and staying positive when you are not seeing much court time.
“Players need to be ready to play should the opportunity arise,” Kowal stressed.
“This is a talented team and each person needs to challenge her teammate(s) to play at their best if we want to be successful in the second half of the season.”