Consistency haunted the Pen High Lakers senior boys volleyball team during the Okanagan Valley Championship.
The good news for the team is they still advanced to provincials.
After losing to the Mount Boucherie Bears in four sets Friday night, the Lakers bounced back to whip the NorKam Saints 25-8, 25-13 and 25-16. The first two sets were not close. In the opening set, the Saints struggled with defending against the Lakers offense. The Lakers had a lead of 12-4, which grew to 18. In the second set, the Saints defensive struggles continued as players were not able to defend against the Lakers spikes or get to balls.
In the final set the Saints had their first lead 3-1. After the Lakers took a 9-8 lead, they eventually pulled ahead 14-10 and never looked back. Lakers coach Paul Smith said it was difficult to gauge their play because the Saints are “kind of a young developing program.”
“At times we showed brilliance, but in the last match we gave them half their points on our service errors,” said Smith. “It’s so hard to play a team that is not that strong.”
Smith said he was happy they didn’t give the Saints a chance.
Their consistency problem arose in the final set.
“It was that mentality coming into the third, OK we know we’re going to win, let up,” he said. “I’ve tried to make personnel changes to give everybody the opportunity to play, then our energy on the court dropped, which it shouldn’t have. I’m disappointed in that. You can’t allow a team to get any momentum. All it takes is one hot server.”
Wes Van Camp, a leader on the Lakers, said they were solid the first two sets. His reasoning for why their intensity dropped is because they “felt we had it in the bag. It’s Saturday, the weekend. Everybody is a little bit ready to let their minds go.”
“The first two sets we put everything together,” he said.
Van Camp said they learned from the Saints that how they lost their intensity shows how they lose focus.
“That’s going to be our little trigger,” said Van Camp. “Focus all the way through. I think we have the skill set to be the provincial champion. It’s going to be a long hard battle to get there, especially now with our seeding. We have the team that’s capable to do it.”
Smith liked what he saw from Kevin Saunders who had a strong game in power. He also said that captain Jordan Farmer stepped up his game. At times it looked too easy for him to score on kill plays.
Heading into provincials, Smith said it’s a strength for the Lakers to be coming off a win.
“I think everyone will have the feeling yes, I can go in and make a difference.”
The senior girls team, coached by Robert Gunning, placed third during the Valley championship. They are now faced with playing in the AAAA wild card at Terry Fox Secondary School in Port Coquitlam. The Lakers need to win it in order to earn a provincial berth.