Seeded at 15th overall, the Penticton Secondary School Lakers volleyball team were the underdogs as they headed into the B.C. boys AAA volleyball championship in Langley this weekend.
On Thursday, led by their banged up co-captain, the Lakers knocked off one of the pre-tournament favourites (Delta), on their way to advancing to the quarter finals. The Lakers then faced Semiahmoo on Friday, but found themselves on the losing side — ending their provincial championship run.
The injury to co-captain David Paisley happened just before the Okanagan Regionals, when he went up for a block and came down hard on an opponent’s foot, severely twisting his ankle – before the injury the Lakers were ranked No. 5 in B.C. at one point of the season.
He said the key to his team’s success at provincials was how well they passed the ball and the outstanding blocking of the team’s big players up front, something his assistant coach Markus Toneatto agrees with.
“I think Delta had a tough time adjusting to the big blocks, and we had a number of blocks today that went straight down, which led them to stop hitting and that was the game,” Toneatto said.
The other key piece to the upset win on Thursday was mountainous setter, Daniel Everton, who was described as horse today by Toneatto.
“He would hit it hard one shot, then he’d mix it up and roll shot on them.”
“We’ve been waiting for him to play like he did (Thursday), and today he was amazing.”
Earlier in the day, the Lakers knocked off Centennial Secondary School in four sets. Something Everton thinks helped them in their game with Delta.
“We had one really good set (in their earlier game), we lost a set, which taught us a lesson that we can’t get comfortable or let up, even when we’re playing well,” Everton said still grinning ear to ear from the win. “So, for this game, we never let up and played a strong game the whole way.”