The Kalamalka Lakers senior girls volleyball team continues improving as they prepare to host the B.C. AA championships Nov. 28-30.
Maria Hansen’s Lakers had another successful weekend, placing fourth at the highly competitive Best of the West in Kelowna Oct. 18-19. The fourth-place finish out of 32 teams follows a fifth-place result at the 40-team UBCO Heat Invitational the previous weekend.
Kal beat AAAA Pen-Hi in three sets in the all-Lakers matchup, despite a sluggish start in the first set. Anna Rinn’s hitting and stellar service runs helped the team claw back into the match. Grade 10 call-up Sophie Dennis also helped get the team in gear with several huge kills which overpowered the Pen-Hi defence in the second set.
Next up was Oscar Romero from Edmonton. The Kal girls handled the team easily with a well-rounded attack executed by Taylor Francks. Tehya Laviolette came in for some key serves and great defence from the back row. Hailey Rangen and Chanelle Wilson were dominant in the middle position against Kelowna’s Immaculata Mustangs in the final pool play match, while Kate Gareau went in to provide some back row relief.
In the first cross-over match on Friday night, the team faced Hugh McRoberts from Richmond, ranked No. 4 in AAA. All cylinders were firing as the girls worked hard both on offence and defence to take them in straight sets. Olivia Tymkiw (tournament all-star), and Jessica Grages put on a hitting clinic from all positions.
Kal faced Burnaby Central in their quarterfinal match. Despite falling significantly behind in sets 1 and 2, the team showed great mental toughness to come back and win in three sets. Delaney Sales-Parno took over the setting duties and did a fantastic job moving the sets around to her hitters. Once again Tymkiw and Grages were dominant. Shaylee Hunter was outstanding from the libero position, not only in this match, but throughout the tournament.
The Lakers faltered a bit defensively in the semis against MEI having difficulty blocking and digging a powerful hitting and serving team. In their last match, the tired squad managed to win the first set against a tall and strong-hitting Duchess Park Condors squad from Prince George, but then lost the last two.
Kal, unranked in the B.C. AA top-10 standings, host the Fulton Maroons in league play Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. and will take on the Vernon Panthers Oct. 29. The Panthers, ranked No. 6 a week ago in the AAA standings, fell out of the top-10. The Seaton Sonics, who host the Panthers in a Block Out event for breast cancer Thursday, are ranked No. 6.