The Penticton Secondary School Lakers got off to a rocky start in their opening game of the 2018 AAAA Girls Volleyball Provincials Thursday.
The Lakers met Oak Bay High School from Vancouver Island in the Pool B round at Okanagan College, losing in two games 25-14 and turned in a stronger showing in the second game but dropping a 25-22 decision.
They also lost their second match 18-25, 25-18 and 7-15 to Moscrop Secondary School of Burnaby.
The Lakers other match was against Maple Ridge.
Number one ranked Belmont Secondary School of Vancouver Island were undefeated in their first two matches of the day in Pool A as was Lord Tweedsmuir in Pool D.
Pool play continued Friday for the Lakers with a morning contest against Terry Fox Secondary school with playoffs starting in the afternoon.
This is the first time there has been 20 teams competing in the provincials, four more than the last time the Lakers hosted the event five years ago.
“It takes a lot of committed people to put this on, Bruce McElroy is the tournament chair and he’s done a great job,”said Lakers Rob Gunning, who shares the coaching duties with Andy Botero and Robyn Richter. “With 20 teams it’s a new draw so that will be interesting and we’re hoping for good things again this week, it’s going to be fun.
“We’re going to have three full days of volleyball, the banquet and I think it’s going to be a huge benefit to thecommunity the way we look at it, restaurants and hotels will all be busy this weekend.”
While Belmont Secondary School is ranked number in the province and a favourite coming into the provincials, Gunning believes there are going to be a lot of close matches.
“I think it’s going to be a topsy-turvy tournament. There’s the potential for us to finish in the top eight, but there’s also the potential for us to finish fairly low,” he said. “I think there will be a lot of upsets.”
The Lakers have been ranked as high as eighth in the province this season, winding up third third in the Valley.
Playoffs continue during the day Saturday with the medal games taking place at Pen Hi, the bronze going at 5:15 p.m. followed by the championship at 6:30 p.m.
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