Mustang senior girls’ volleyball team defeats higher ranked teams for win

The Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) Mustangs senior girls volleyball team won the Elliot Lake Invitational tournament, earlier this month. In photo back row left is coach Neil Debassige, Maren Kasunich, Taylor Bell, Saraya Eshkawkogan, Sabrina Shamess, Katie Chapman, Aysia Francis-Debassige, Morgan Green, assistant coaches Darci Debassige and Steve Doane. Front row left Nikki Cress, Mackenzie Green, Aspen Debassige, Mya Balfe and Sonay Jacko-Cywink.

M’CHIGEENG—The Manitoulin Secondary School Senior girls’ team were the champions at a tournament held in Elliot Lake earlier this month. And it took defeating teams ranked higher than the Mustangs and a furious comeback in one of their games to pull off the feat.

“An incredible two days. It took a full-team effort this weekend (the first weekend in January) at the Elliot Lake Secondary School senior girls’ volleyball invitational,” wrote coach Neil Debassige of the Mustangs team, “that saw MSS Mustangs qualify for the semi-finals, upset the number one seeded team, then overcome a 10-1 deficit in game two of the finals to win the championship gold.”

Mr. Debassige explained to The Expositor, “because the team has not had any competitive action for awhile, we had a slow start in the round-robin tournament. But we made it into the semi-finals.” Since the Mustangs had finished fourth in the round-robin they had to go up against the number one ranked team St. Charles. “It was in the fifth game of the round-robin game that we figured out our rotation for the tournament and beat them in the third set to reach the finals.”

This pitted MSS against the Sault Ste. Marie Voyageurs where the Mustangs, “won in two straight games,” said Mr. Debassige. However, “we had to come back from a 10-1 deficit in the second game.”

Mr. Debassige gave, “kudos to the organizers, sponsors from Elliot Lake, and also to the ELSS Atoms and fans who cheered us on to victory—a class act.”

The tournament saw teams from Sault Ste. Marie, Chapleau, Sudbury and Elliot Lake take part. “It was a really good, and very well-organized tournament,” said Mr. Debassige.

The Mustangs team included coach Neil Debassige and assistant coaches Darci Debassige and Steve Doane and players Maren Kasunich, Taylor Bell, Saraya Eshkawkogan, Sabrina Shamess, Katie Chapman, Aysia Francis-Debassige, Morgan Green, Nikki Cress, Mackenzie Green, Aspen Debassige, Mya Balfe and Sonya Jacko-Cywink.