The second annual Pen High Len Cox Lakettes Memorial Tournament hits the court Friday.
The Lakers welcome the Kelowna Secondary School Owls, Mt. Boucherie Bears, Okanagan Mission Huskies, Immaculata Mutangs, Rutland Voodoo, Salmon Arm Jewels and J.L. Crowe Hawks from Trail. The Lakers open with a 1 p.m. match against the Hawks at 1 p.m., then have two more games at 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. There other games are against the Huskies and Mustangs.
Lakers co-coach Leslie Lacroix said she and coach Dustin Hyde will have their full senior lineup since some of the players who are on the volleyball team heading to provincials have a break from volleyball this weekend.
“It’s an opportunity to see how they work together. We’re very young,” said Lacroix.
The Lakers have two seniors in Anika Holowaty and Sydney Clarke, six Grade 11 players in Hannah Clarke, Lyndzie Caron, Jean Grakul, Jocelyn Brady, Jollee Perrier and Britney Young and four Grade 10s in Mattie Philip, Celine Francisco, Chloe Brydon and Emma Schneider.
System play for the Lakers is raw with this being an early season tournament and the coaches will gauge where they need to go in the first half of the season.
For this weekend, Lacroix and Hyde believe the competition will be good. The younger players on the Lakers had good battles with the Huskies in junior play. The Mustangs were a power house in the region and won a AA provincial championship as a single A school last season.
“This weekend will be a good test,” said Hyde. “Get us to see how people will play together. We’re young, we’re not big.
“We have scheduled games against set teams that we thought we would be competitive against,” continued Hyde. “We didn’t want it to be super competitive or whose the top team in the valley in the first week before the season even begins. That said, we always want to be working hard in competing to win.”
The tournament is a fundraiser for a bursary in Cox’s name. He is a former Pen High teacher, counsellor and administrator of 30 years who died last year. Cox established and ran the scholarship bursary foundation that currently gives more than $200,000 in educational funding to grads from Pen High, Princess Margaret and Summerland. Cox also coached the Lakettes throughout his career. Team entry fees will be going towards scholarships for graduating players who desire to play sports at the college or university level.