PEN HIGH LAKER Shelby Sturko is pumped after they beat the West Van Highlanders in three sets on Saturday. The Lakers went on to win their home tournament against the Vernon Panthers.

Lakers senior girls volleyball gets boost from victory

The Pen High Lakers senior girls volleyball team won its home tournament for a second straight year.

The No.10 ranked Pen High Lakers took the Rutland Voodoos in three straights sets in senior girls volleyball Wednesday on home court.

After winning the opening set 25-20, the Lakers earned more decisive wins of 25-12 and 25-9.

“It was a good confidence booster for us,” said Laker Cali Anderson. “It’s good for Valleys (Nov. 19 in Kelowna) to have a win like that. Hopefully another one during our Cross Cities (Nov. 15).”

The Lakers attack was led by Shelby Sturko with nine kills, while Emily Hoffman had seven. Alex Neenan and Chloe Brydon had five each. Brydon led with three aces.

Anderson also talked about them focusing on fundamentals, such as passing that allowed them to operate a strong offence. Anderson said at points the Voodoos tested them in the second and third set and praised their defensive work. She said the Voodoo do a good job of getting the ball back over.

The Voodoo had struggles keeping the Lakers power shots in play with several balls firing off defenders and out.

“We just did awesome tonight. They saw through the blocks,” said Anderson. “They put the ball in the open courts. It was awesome that they could do that.”

Along with strong passing, Anderson liked how the Lakers scrambled defensively to keep the ball in play.

“We didn’t let too many balls drop. Our blocking was pretty good,” said Anderson, giving back more praise to their servers. “I was really proud of our serving.”

The one area Anderson said they can be better is focus, which she said was lost, especially in the second set. The Lakers had a 10-point lead and allowed the Voodoo to close the gap to 20-12. She said after winning a set, the Lakers tend to get overconfident.

Last weekend the Lakers reveled in victory at their home tournament.

For the second straight year, the Lakers won, this time sweeping the Vernon Secondary Panthers in two games Saturday afternoon. Emily Hoffman said winning gives them a boost.

“It lets you know you can win events,” she said.

Hoffman described their match with the Panthers as a good game, but tiring.

“I think both teams had quite a few games today,” said Hoffman. “It started pretty early (opening with a loss to West Van in three sets). I think we pulled it out pretty well. We followed through with what we needed to do.”

READ MORE: Lakers senior volleyball teams net different results from solid play

Hoffman said the Lakers were able to overcome their fatigue by telling each other to keep going and finding the motivation. Lakers co-coach Rob Gunning said it was a good win for his group, but said their three-set semifinal victory over the West Van Highlanders was bigger. He said it was nice to see the team get up and win the third set 15-12. It was a victory that gave them momentum into the final.

“Right now we need to get ourselves into those situations where we’re playing tough teams,” said Gunning. “Where teams are pushing us. West Van played good defence. They blocked well, served pretty well. For us to kind of gut that out and perservere, was a big win for sure.”

Against the Panthers, the Lakers faced a squad that keeps the ball in play and forces you to beat them. Gunning said most teams in the tournament did that over the two days.

“Some teams didn’t have the strongest offenses,” said Gunning. “They kept the ball in play. Forced us to score which is good for our girls because that’s what we need to be doing.”

The tournament also featured Mt. Sentinel and Kalmalka from Vernon.

The Lakers are next in action on Nov. 2 when they host Rutland Secondary at 5 p.m.