A 32-5 victory against the Rutland Voodoo rugby team put the Pen Higher Lakers boys into the semifinal round of the Okanagan Valley Championship.
After scoring four tries in the first half, the Lakers added two more. Following what Lakers coach Graham Vujcich described as a slow start, the Lakers rucked well and their tackling was on.
“The boys have played progressively better through the season,” said Vujcich, who guided the Lakers to a 3-1-1 record this season to place third. “This was the first playoff game so it was good to have a win today (Thursday).”
Lakers captain Wes Van Camp said he and his teammates improved their game in the second half. Van Camp didn’t feel their heads were in the game to start.
“It was a do or die game,” said Van Camp, adding that Rutland improved from earlier in the season. “They are definitely a strong team.”
Van Camp added that dominating the rucks helped them maintain ball possession.
Voodoos coach Christine McManus felt her team had a stronger second half, in which they were outscored two tries to one, and was pleased with their aggression.
The Lakers travel to Mt.Boucherie to face the Bears and put themselves in position for the Valley championship.
Vujcich said his group can go as far as they want. The Lakers coach is aware that they have some tough opponents to face so it won’t be easy. His expectation is for the Lakers to be playing for a few more weeks.
Asked if he expects his team to win Valleys, jokingly, Vujcich said, “I didn’t say that.”
“If we play our best game I think we can go all the way,” said Van Camp.
If the Lakers win in Mt. Boucherie, they will then play on May 12 and the Valley championship is the week of May 17.