The Pen High Lakers senior girls volleyball team lost in five sets to the Kelowna Owls Wednesday at Pen High, but it didn’t feel like a loss.
Lakers captain Emily Hoffman said it felt like a win against the No. 6 seed in the province.
“It absolutely does. It’s always good to push a great team to a fifth set,” said Hoffman, whose team lost 21-25, 25-17, 21-15, 25-16 and 10-15. “It was super intense in all aspects. We had some ups and downs. I think both teams really brought it today and we hustled. KSS is known to be a really good team. It’s hard to beat them, but we gave them a run for their money for sure.”
The Lakers got energized from the long rallies they earned points on. Their bench was just as energized watching.
Owls coach Tony Sodaro was upset with his team on a few occasions and at one point asked his players during a break in play if any of them wanted to play volleyball.
“I think they were getting frustrated. I think they were getting down at times,” said Hoffman. “We just kept the intensity and we stuck at it. I think even though we came out with a loss, I think we did really well still.”
Hoffman said there was lots to learn from the loss. As a faster paced match, she said the team can learn to play at that pace and a higher level.
The Lakers coach took it one step further.
“I think sometimes you have to lose some close matches before you learn how to win the close matches,” said Andy Botero, whose squad is 2-1 in league play so far. “We’ve had a lot of close matches this year where we haven’t come out on the end that I would like. We’re getting closer. We’re just hoping we’re going to peak at the right time.
“We were thrilled with the performance of our team. We played a great team, KSS,” continued Botero. “We know we have some things to work on. Especially late in that fifth set. The fact that we’re competitive with them is a good sign moving forward.”
Boys sweep Panthers
Pen High Laker Jacob Stokker (12) catches air as he smashes the ball with Vernon Panther Brody Watts looking to protect his zone Wednesday at Pen High. The Lakers swept the Panthers in three sets.
“We got to see a lot of guys in different situations, which we haven’t had the opportunity to do so far this year,” said Boxall, who had his captain Nicholas Everton and fellow starter Andre Rachinski get injured. “We saw a lot of guys flourish that we may not have known their ability to be in those situations.”
David Paisley, who plays power for the Lakers, said they played really well, but added there were times they could have been better.
“Our passing was pretty good. Our blocking was also very good,” said Paisley. “We finished the ball.”
Rachinski rolled his ankle, while Everton is experiencing back issues. Boxall said that not having his top players means that team won’t always be able to capitalize on every situation. Boxall saw the Panthers push his young team, but one thing they talked about is reducing the compounding errors. While mistakes will happen in a game, he said, limiting the consecutive errors helps.
“We are going to control the overall tempo of the match,” he said. “Teams aren’t going to be able to make the comeback they did.”
Boxall said the win is a confidence builder for his team. Being a young team as well, the Lakers have faced strong opponents.
“They have a lot of good players,” said Boxall, whose team earned an honourable mention in the Oct. 11 rankings. “Use that for this weekend in the KSS best of the west tournament. We’d like to get a good showing there.”
Boxall added playing a team like the Panthers, who they expect to beat, they want to control matches. He feels they did by taking care of business in three sets.