The Princess Margaret Mustangs senior girls’ volleyball program had a good opening weekend at their Mustang Mania tournament.
“I thought we played with a lot of energy, passed well and therefore got a lot of chances to hit,” said Mustangs coach Tim Haberstock, whose AA team defeated the Rutland Voodoos and Pen High Lakers, both 4A programs, then lost to tournament champs, the Vernon Secondary School Panthers, a 3A program. “This time of year isn’t about winning, but giving the girls a chance to compete for positions in a game situation. I was very encouraged with how quickly all of our girls adapted to their new teammates and positions showing that we should have a lot of depth.”
The Mustangs also had success against Vernon’s Fulton Lady Maroons, the only other AA program in the tournament. However, Saturday exposed the Mustangs’ weaknesses with losses to Immaculata and the Lakers. The Mustangs bounced back to defeat the Lakers to place third. Haberstock added this is a good start for his players, but like every team, it’s how they develop throughout the season that determines success.
“We had some strong performances from many of our grade 12s,” he said. “Taylor Corrie and Jaqueline Ford earned tournament workhorse awards for their positive leadership on the court as well as their consistent, confident play. A nice surprise was the much improved play by Haley Lehr and Nikita Pickard at middle. They both served very well all weekend and were forces at the net both hitting and blocking, earning player of the game honours in our Friday matches.”
Haberstock also praised Sydney McKinley, Emma Klingspohn, Lexi Grady and Caitlin Neary.
Pen High Lakers
Coach Bo Boxall said the weekend was about seeing players increase their awareness on the court and develop chemistry.
“We have three young setters, Sydney Foster, Annika Holowaty and Jodie Woods,” said Boxall. “One of the biggest things for our team is ensuring that our hitters and setters get on to the same page.”
Boxall said his Grade 11 players started to see the speed of the senior level.
“It is a big jump from junior volleyball to senior volleyball and for most of our players it was a big eye opener to see,” he said. “On the first day they were definitely behind the pace and reacting to the speed instead of being proactive. As the tournament progressed, and the girls got more touches, we were putting ourselves into better positions defensively.”
The Lakers will continue to work on developing chemistry between hitters and setters, but also improving serving and passing. Boxall was impressed with his team and added that Ciska Baakeran and Paisley Anderson did a great job of being active at the middle of the net. He saw great improvements from Emma Brown and Ali Vandermay as libbers. The Lakers will be relying heavily on seniors Baakeran, Elena Greig, Tessa Lannon-Paakspuu and Josie Mayer.
Tessa Lannon-Paakspuu below.
As for their matchup with the Mustangs, Boxall said the Lakers played well against them and believes the teams will have strong exhibition matches all year.
“Maggie is an older team and should do well this year,” said Boxall.