It was the best volleyball the Pen High Lakers senior girls team has played this season.
Hosting a tournament last weekend, the Lakers went 4-2 and finished fourth. Victories came against Keremeos, Rutland and Mt. Sentinel on Friday. They then defeated rival Princess Margaret 2-0 in the quarter-finals on Saturday morning. Vernon, ranked No. 3 in AA, defeated them in the semifinal 25-21, 25-23. They also lost to the Kelowna Secondary School Owls 2-1 in the bronze medal game.
“Our team showed a level of intensity and competitiveness we have not seen this season,” said Lakers coach Robert Gunning. “Mt. Sentinel, a small single A school, went on to win the tournament by playing great volleyball all weekend. We were the only team to beat them all weekend so that should give us some confidence as we move forward.”
Performing strong for the Lakers were Hayden Craig, with 13 aces from the service line. Kaylie Loewen had 46 kills to lead on offence. Sara Berthelsen had seven blocks and Steffi Caron had 12 digs to lead the defensive effort.
“All members of our team played great defence all weekend and really picked up the level of intensity at a crucial time in the season,” said Gunning.
This weekend the Lakers, who have slipped out of the top 10 ranking in the province, will play in a tournament hosted by Riverside Secondary School in Port Coquitlam. Gunning said this is an opportunity to improve their fortunes heading into the post-season. Kelowna is ranked No. 4, South Kamloops is No. 6.
“We know that we have the talent to play with anyone in the province, we hope to prove it this weekend,” he said.
The Lakers senior boys volleyball team climbed two spots in the AAA rankings to No. 7. Kelowna is ranked No. 3, while Mt. Boucherie earned an honorable mention.