Rob Gunning learned a few things about his Pen High Lakers senior boys volleyball team last weekend.
“I think we will be very competitive in the valley, that we’ve got a good team,” said the Lakers coach, whose team lost the championship of their tournament to Kelowna Secondary School Owls in two sets. “We pass well, we play good defence. We blocked better than I thought we were going to. Overall, I was pleased.”
Earlier in the tournament, the Lakers defeated the Owls with good serving and passing. They didn’t get the same performance in the final and in Gunning’s opinion, they were dominated.
“That’s what it comes down to. Neither team has a good enough offence to overcome that sort of thing. Those sorts of deficiencies,” he said. “We just got to be better in those areas.”
Kieren Loewen, who earned all-star honours with teammate Nick Everton, said they played pretty well. Maintaining a positive attitude, however, was the key.
“We did’t get the positivity we needed to win,” he said. “It was good. They play hard. We beat them the first time we played in this tournament.”
Loewen said now they know what to look for when they meet the Owls again. Loewen said there were good things they did, but it all comes back a positive mindset. That was something he said hurt last year’s team.
Gunning chose Loewen and Everton as all-stars because of their play offensively, while Everton, who played for Team B.C. during the summer, also blocked well.
Gunning also liked the performances of Josh Gowe and Austin Stephens, who was great in the middle and Jordan Simpson, who is their new defensive player.
“I thought all our guys played well,” he said.
The goal for the Lakers is to qualify for provincials, which they can accomplish by either earning a high ranking provincially or placing top two in the South Okanagan. It will be a tough task again as Gunning said the valley is always difficult with three good teams.
“It’s a long season. Those important matches in the middle of November are really what we’re pushing towards,” said Gunning, who feels his group is capable of qualifying for provincials.
Mustangs coach Rich Corrie said his team played well as they were competitive against AAA schools and won two of three matches to AA schools, which included Vernon Secondary and George Elliot.
“Some very good early season volleyball,” said Corrie, whose team heads to Capilano College in North Vancouver on Oct. 2.