Emotions were high at Princess Margaret Secondary School Wednesday night.
As the Pen High Lakers senior boys volleyball team battled the host Mustangs in a city championship game, students from both schools cheered with passion. As the Lakers clawed their way back into the second set, spectators faced each other during crunch time.
“It was nuts, I remember that from last year,” said Mustang Colton Van Camp. “It was just about the same intensity and I remember what it feels like to lose and it didn’t feel great.”
This time Van Camp and the Mustangs defeated the Lakers 25-22 in the final set for the sweep, after taking the first set 25-17. Van Camp said the crowd gave them momentum.
“We really fed off that energy. That got the guys really pumped up,” said Van Camp, who praised the Lakers for playing well. “We got a couple big smashes at the end and the crowd helped us out so much. They were such a huge part of this game. I can’t even describe the feeling of how pumped up we get from that.”
Mustangs senior boys co-coach Shawn Lum said that matchup prepared them well for the valley championship being held this weekend at George Elliot Secondary. When asked about how his team responded to the Lakers fighting back, Lum said his players have experienced that before.
“They know what they need to do. They know what needs to be done,” said Lum, whose group enters valleys as the second seed. “They execute.”
Lakers coach Rob Gunning felt his team fought hard.
“That’s all we can expect. Their team is more experienced than ours,” said Gunning, whose team will co-host the valley championship at Pen High with the senior girls. “We got some really key blocks late in that second set. Ultimately they were just a little more aggressive.”
The Mustang senior girls also earned a sweep earlier in the evening. They defeated the Lakers 25-23 and 25-22. Mustangs coach Tim Haberstock said both teams were nervous.
“It’s exciting to play in front of a big crowd,” said Haberstock.
The Mustangs coach said they missed six of their first nine serves in the opening set, which put them behind. Once the serving got on track, the Mustangs were able to play their style and Haberstock said that was a big difference.
“It’s a good way to see what it’s like to play with pressure before we go to playoffs,” said Haberstock, whose team travels to Vernon this weekend for the valley championship. The Mustangs are the top seed heading in and Haberstock said it’s up to them.
“If we play our game, we should be able to advance to provincials,” he said. “It was a good chance to see what playing with nerves was going to be like. We know what we can do with nerves.”
Mustang Taylor Corrie said they worked well as a team and their energy level, thanks to the crowd, was where they wanted it.
“It just gets you so pumped,” said Corrie of the crowd. “Every point you just want to play good.”
Corrie said it’s always fun playing their friends on the Lakers and said it’s intense. It was no different that night and now they have bragging rights.
“It’s good bragging rights,” she said smiling.
“That’s a very good Maggie Mustangs team,” said Lakers coach Bo Boxall. “It was a tough match for our girls. The atmosphere was definitely a contributing factor.”
Court notes: The junior girls Okanagan Valley championship at Pen High starts Friday at 2 p.m. with the Lakers playing Immaculata. Princess Margaret plays Kelowna Secondary School and court 2 at the same time. The Lakers then play Vernon Secondary at 4:30 p.m. and Sa-Hali at 7 p.m. Playoff rounds begin Saturday at 9 a.m. The senior volleyball playoffs are Saturday only starting at 12:45 p.m. and 4 p.m.