Disappointed at their performance in the third annual Cross-City Senior Volleyball championship, the Pen High Lakers girls team wanted another crack at the Princess Margaret Mustangs.
They got it in the championship of their tournament on Saturday.
“Maggie is a great team. We didn’t show up on Tuesday,” said Lakers coach Andy Botero. “Win or lose, we just wanted to compete.”
The Lakers got their due defeating the Mustangs in straight sets 25-23. Botero said for them to beat the Mustangs, they had to play with “a lot of heart.”
“I think we did that on the weekend,” said Botero, adding that the Mustangs have more size and are probably more talented. “My goal for the tournament was I just wanted us to start gelling as a team. We’re not the biggest team around. We have to play with intensity and drive. We have to have a willingness to keep the ball off the floor on our side of the net. I think for the first time this year, this weekend we really achieved that.”
Mustangs coach Shawn Lum said his team got off to a rough start. Passing and attacking the ball were issues.
“We were not being aggressive at the start of the game, we were hitting roll shots too much and we were not finishing the ball,” said Lum.
Because of that, the Lakers built a 10-0 lead. It wasn’t until after the second Mustang timeout, while trailing 9-0, that they started chipping away at the lead and tied the match at 23. Lum said after that the Lakers defence stepped up. A few key players to the Lakers’ success were libero Tianna Apps and setters Chloe Brydon and Cali Anderson.
“She was great. Her passing was great,” said Botero of Apps. “Her overall defence kept us in a lot of rallies. Sometimes the liberos don’t get the recognition that some of the offensive players get. It’s just as important if not more important.”
In Brydon and Caron, the Lakers have a pair that lead by example. In most games they lead in kills. Caron impressed her coach with her willingness to swing for the win.
“She got her last two kills against Maggie,” he said.
“I was really proud of how we played as a team,” he said. “Getting contributions from the players. Success was due to the fact that everybody contributed in a positive way.”
On Wednesday, the 10th ranked Lakers travel to Kelowna to face the No. 2 Owls in 4A league play.