Lakers may add colour to game

Keep your eyes peeled for the Three Stooges who could be at the Halloween Bash Volleyball tournament hosted by Pen High.

Janna Clarke of the Pen High Lakers dives for this ball against the Rutland Voodoos. While the Lakers had some challenges

Janna Clarke of the Pen High Lakers dives for this ball against the Rutland Voodoos. While the Lakers had some challenges

Keep your eyes peeled for the Three Stooges who could be at the Halloween Bash Volleyball tournament hosted by Pen High.

Last year, Lakers coach Paul Smith and his staff dressed up as the trio.

“We do have our attire from last year that we went and found,” said Smith.

It’s all part of having fun this weekend as games will take place Friday and Saturday at Pen High, KVR and the new gymnasium at Okanagan College, which is having its open house this weekend.

Smith said they want to emphasize fun while going after a top-three finish.

“It’s finding that fine line between business and fun,” said Smith, whose team defeated the Rutland Secondary School Voodoos in a three-set sweep on Wednesday. “We talked about a theme, talked about some facial stuff. We are restricted by the rules of the game. I have never seen anything on face paint. Hopefully we will have a nice theme.”

The Lakers coach expects the weekend to be a battle. The Lakers are facing teams they will have to perform well against if they want to play in the provincials. Smith said the group has shown they can play well and poorly. He wants to see a consistent effort throughout the tournament.

“That we learn to perform for an entire tournament at the same level,” said Smith, who had Carissa Kocsis and Jamie Craig return from injuries against the Voodoos. “At the KSS tournament two weeks ago, we played solid on Friday, beating Handsworth and Earl Marriot, took Strathcona, a top ranked team from Alberta. On Saturday, we were completely different.”

While the Lakers aim to have fun, they open the tournament against No. 6 ranked South Kamloops at 4:40 p.m. on Friday at Pen High. Keremeos, Salmon Arm, Valleyview Secondary School and Princess Margaret will be at Okanagan College.

While it’s unknown whether the Lakers will play in the new gym, Smith is still excited about games being played there.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “The thing that has been a concern of mine, we played two weekends in a row over at a small gym in Kelowna and both weekends we had an injury to a starter because the facility space wasn’t adequate. Now we get to use the college, which has two good courts. In my mind, we will have a safe court for every team to play on. Having the college is going to be top notch. It’s really going to improve the quality of the tournament.”

Okanagan College couldn’t have been happier to help out. Lakers assistant coach Paul Mend contacted regional dean Donna Lomas, who welcomed them. Lomas also waived the normal rental fee.

“We immediately jumped on it,” she said, adding that the South Okanagan Volleyball Association has already used the gym. “It’s part of our goal to see the gym become a community asset. It will be the first real big test.

“We are pretty excited,” she continued. “It’s great that we’re able to join in. I intend to see it for sure. I’m curious to see how the gym performs and get feedback.”

Lomas is also looking forward to watching the team from throughout the province, which also includes Mt. Boucherie, Maple Ridge, Rutland, North Kamloops, Vernon Secondary School and Mt. Sentinel.

“It’s good promotion for us and hopefully for the high school as well,” she said.

When asked if there are any plans to bring athletic teams to play in the new gym, Lomas said nothing is happening at the moment. Ideas have been discussed, but nothing concrete.

“Not saying no to it, just at this moment we don’t have any immediate plans,” she added. “Certainly open to it. Just trying to get things up and running.”


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