A three-set victory (21-25, 25-10 and 15-12) over the Summerland Rockets earned the Pen High Lakers the junior boys South Zone championship.
Cam Glibbery delivered the final blow to the Rockets, who couldn’t handle his hard serve Tuesday at Summerland Middle School. The Lakers had leads of 8-6 and 13-10.
“At the end there, we really decided to put our effort in,” said Laker Aaron Leaman. “We put our heads in the game and pulled through. It feels great.”
Lakers coach Scott Finlayson said it was a good match between two teams that have battled all season. After being on the wrong end of games earlier in the season, the Lakers have now found themselves on the winning side.
“These guys know how to play well. They just need to be reminded that they can,” said Finlayson. “When they lose sets they sort of get it in their heads that they are maybe not going to win anymore and I have to remind them that they are a good team. Other teams are going to beat them now and then. They just have to bounce back and try and win when they are not feeling great.”
Finlayson credited their serving and passing in winning the match.
Rockets coach Kevin Lodermeier said his team played well. He said they made some great plays, good plays and some common errors for junior volleyball.
“I think it was two teams that are pretty evenly matched,” said Lodermeier, who was confident the matchup would go three sets. “It came down to who made a few less errors in critical spots.”
Lodermeier said when his team is relaxed while playing, do perform and make fewer errors. He talked about when games get tight and how players react.
“Do you face adversity and take the challenge or do you crumble?” he said. “The reality is these guys faced the challenge. They stepped up and did what they had to do.”
Both teams will now play in the Valley Championship next weekend, Nov. 18 to 19.
Lakers junior girls claim South Zone
The Lakers are South Zone champs after they swept the Summerland Rockets 25-21 and 25-23.
Lakers coach Scott Harkness said Summerland has a strong team that will remain that way next year.
“They played very good defence. Their libero played exceptionally well. They also have some strong offence,” said Harkness. “Luckily for us our girls played well. They came back from being down late in the first set and thanks to strong serving by Kayley Davies and some clutch hitting by Jayden Schneider, they were able to win.”
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Harkness said the second set was better as they led most of the time thanks to excellent setting by captain Kali Loewen and strong hitting by Brooke Boerner. “Summerland never gave up in that set and we barely pulled it off thanks to some aggressive swings by Jayden.”
Harkness said that coming out on the losing side against strong teams and this win shows his players that they can compete with other tough teams.
“It builds some more confidence heading into the Valley Championships where there will be some of the top teams in the province,” he said. “If the girls play well they have a good shot at qualifying for provincials.”
The Lakers advanced to the final by beating Osoyoos 25-16 and 25-17.
The Valley Championships are this weekend, Nov. 18 to 19.