PFFNHS junior boys medal at Dryden volleyball tournament
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
The Pelican Falls First Nations High School (PFFNHS) junior boys’ volleyball team claimed second place at the Dryden High School Junior Boys Volleyball Tournament on Oct. 19 and 20.
“There was lots of competition. We ended up beating Fort Frances in the quarterfinals to get to Westgate, who is the top team in Thunder Bay and hasn’t even lost yet in Thunder Bay. We won the first set against them in the semis and then we lost the second set, which forced a third set that was only up to 15. We were actually down 14-11 and we came back to win the game 16-14. It was a pretty amazing comeback,” explained head coach Lucas Oikonen.
“We kept jumping from gym to gym for about three straight games and, unfortunately, we ended up losing steam by the time we got to the finals,” Oikonen continued.
The Timberwolves ended up losing in two sets (25-22, 25-16) to the St. Ignatius Falcons out of Thunder Bay in the tournament finals.
Despite the loss, Oikonen and his team were quite thrilled with the results; especially with the dramatic, hard-fought efforts to make the finals. He shared that it was great for the team to show off their new medals at a school-wide pep rally on Oct. 23.
“We got a pretty amazing reaction from the fans when we were able to show off the medals. We can tell that we’re Pelican’s team right now, and we’re going to try and do well with the playoffs coming up,” he said.
The Timberwolves have looked pretty good from the start, but hard work on and off the court has led this group to become more well-rounded as the season has gone on, which Oikonen hopes can lead to playoff success.
“I knew we’d be a decent team at the start of the year, but we didn’t know we’d end up this good. We had some raw talent and kids that were pretty new to the sport at first, but now we’re becoming more polished and hopefully we can do some damage in the playoffs,” he explained.
After beating the Ignace Falcons in three straight sets on Oct. 30, the Timberwolves have cemented their spot in the Northwestern Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association (NorWOSSA) junior boys’ volleyball playoffs, which take place in Kenora today and tomorrow (Nov. 7 and 8.)
The Timberwolves will take on the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints in the semi-finals on today (Nov. 7) at 4 p.m. If they win, the Timberwolves would then play the Sioux North High School Warriors on Oct. 8 at 1 p.m.
The NorWOSSA playoff games are being livestreamed on www.ustream.tv.
Regardless of the end of the year results, Oikonen shared that he won’t forget the moment when they came back against Westgate.
“I’m incredibly proud of these kids. I won’t forget the look on their faces when we booked a spot in the tournament finals after scoring five-straight-points to win the semis. It was the TSN turning point of the season, and hopefully we can continue that momentum in the playoffs,” he concluded.