The Pen High Lakers climbed three spots in the AAA BC Secondary School Girls Volleyball rankings.
Going in 12th, the Lakers won four of their seven matches to finish ninth, accomplishing their goal of a top 10 finish.
“We were really happy with it. That was fantastic for us,” said Lakers coach Andy Botero. “We played some really tight matches. Most of the tight matches we won. Being mentally tough and winning the points that mattered.”
After completing the round robin, in which they won one of three matches, the Lakers took on Riverside, which won bronze. The Lakers lost to Riverside in three sets and Botero said they were an outstanding team.
“The top three teams (Handsworth, Earl Marriott and Riverside) were head and shoulders better than everybody else,” he said. “Just to see the level that we will have to reach if we’re going to compete for a provincial title.”
The Lakers took great satisfaction in finishing ahead of Okanagan rivals Mt. Boucherie, who finished 12th and Kelowna Secondary, who the Lakers defeated and finished 13th.
“We got contributions from everybody. That was one of our keys to success,” said Botero. “Other teams couldn’t key on a specific position or player.”
Injury hurts senior boys
After Kieran Loewen went down with an injury 10 points into their first match against defending champ Earl Marriott, the Laker’s hopes of earning a top-five finish went down with him. Loewen was the Lakers’ leading attacker. The Lakers lost that first match 25-22 and 25-16 and went on to finish 14th in the provincial championship.
“Any team in that tournament cannot afford to lose that kind of a player,” said Lakers coach Rob Gunning. “Considering that, 14th wasn’t actually too bad. We would have loved to have been top eight or top 10, but once we lost him it was just, we lose our best attacker, we lose a good blocker, we lose one of our primary passers. It’s hard for the other guys to recover. The other guys worked really hard, played hard. [It’s] too hard to replace that kind of influence on your team.”
The Lakers then faced Surrey Christian and won 26-24 and 25-22 and lost its final round robin match to David Thompson, 22-25, 33-31 and 11-15. The Lakers finished third in their pool.
In the match for 13th place, the Lakers won the first set 25-19, before losing 25-20 and 16-14.
Laker libero Cam Gunning earned an all-star team honourable mention. The Lakers coach said that he played well, as well as Jordan Simpson, with the two playing great defence all weekend. Nick Everton also played strong defensively.
“It was just hard for us to score,” said Gunning.