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Muskies rally from two sets down to even NWOSSAA final

Game 3 of the best-of-three series is scheduled for Wednesday at 4 p.m. at St. Ignatius.
The Fort Frances Muskies evened their best-of-three NWOSSAA girls volleyball final with a come-from-behind 16-25, 20-25, 26-19, 25-15, 16-14 win over the St. Ignatius Falcons on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY – The Fort Frances Muskies dug themselves about as big a hole as you can dig.

Down a game already in their best-of-three NWOSSAA senior girls’ volleyball championship, playing in their opponent’s gym, the Muskies dropped the first two sets of Game 2, and were a set loss away from having their season come to a crashing halt.

But instead of hanging their heads and accepting what fate apparently had in store for them, they came together, admitted they had nothing to lose, and then started putting up points.

They captured the third set 25-19, made easy work of the St. Ignatius Falcons in the second set, winning it 25-15, and stormed all the way back in the fifth and deciding set, edging their opponent 16-14 to force a deciding Game 3 later on Wednesday afternoon.

The winner of that game will claim the region’s berth at OFSAA next month in Sydenham, Ont.

Never say never, said Fort Frances’ Payton Dolymy, whose tenacity at the net proved to be a difference maker for the Muskies, who lost last year’s final when they were the defending champions after beating Westgate in the 2020 final.

“We played as a team today,” she said. “I left it all on the court, including my voice. But overall, it was an amazing game.”

It was a well-deserved win, she added.

“And if we play like that again today, then we’ll have a good shot.”

Trailing two sets to none is not an enviable position to be in, but Dolymy said at that point, she and her teammates didn’t look beyond their current set.

“Basically we said keep your head up. We made an amazing comeback. You can’t get down on your teammates or yourselves,” she said.

Fort Frances coach Duane Roen said coming off Tuesday night’s tough five-set loss, his team found the right mindset in Game 2, despite dropping the first set 25-16 and the second 25-20.

“We’ve had a lot of close games this season in the NORWOSSA league. These girls always seem to find a way to win,” Roen said.

“Last night was tough. We’d been on the bus all day. This is a really young team too. We only have five Grade 12s. They’re mostly Grade 11s, nine of them, and we’re trying to put the correct ratio together that works against this team.”

Now, with the series tied 1-1, the slate is clean, Roen told his players.

“I’m happy with where we are right now,” he said. “We’ll try to get fuelled up and get it done.”

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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