A strong tournament for the Pen High Lakers senior girls volleyball team ended with a loss to the Kelowna Secondary School Owls.
The Okanagan rivals met in the quarter-final of Riverside Secondary’s (Coquitlam) tournament. Lakers coach Robert Gunning said it featured high calibre teams that are top in the AAAA standings. The Lakers lost tight matches to Pacific Academy (No. 2 AA) and Heritage Woods (No. 1 AAAA) on Friday. They finished pool play on Saturday with a loss to Earl Marriott No. 3 in AAAA and beat North Vancouver’s Handsworth. Their first round playoff match was win against No. 7 McMath (Richmond) in AAAA in a tight two-set match before losing to the Owls, ranked No. 2.
“The KSS match was our fourth in a row and the girls just kind of ran out of gas,” said Gunning. “The two wins were very important for us to solidify our No. 8 (as of Nov. 6) ranking right now and we hope to move up a little bit before the Valleys in a little less than two weeks.”
Having seen all the top teams in the province, the Lakers know they are competitive.
“All of the girls played well this weekend and showed a level of competitiveness that is good to see at this time of year,” said Gunning. “The win against McMath was very big as the girls came back from 13-4 and 22-18 deficits. A real good show of character against a good team.”
Sara Berthelsen and Georgia Hurry led the way at the net with 14 blocks each. Blocking has been a key area of focus and Gunning was happy to see it continue to improve.
On offense, Kaylie Loewen led the way with 49 kills, Annaka Ramsay added 22 while leading the team in hitting percentage. Janna Clarke added 15 kills and 10.5 blocks while playing with a bad ankle. Hayden Craig was the Lakers biggest threat at the service line with 10 aces while Ramsay added eight. Mikala Vujcich, Abi McCluskey and Jo Gunning brought great defense and intensity to the court. Next up for the Lakers is preparing for the Valley championship in Kamloops on Nov. 17.