Panthers haul Halloween gold at Pen-Hi Invitational

Vernon Panthers win Pen-Hi Halloween Senior Girls Volleyball Tournament.

The Vernon Panthers lost to the Princess Margaret Mustangs of Penticton in preliminary play, but came through when it counted Saturday in Penticton.

The Cats swept the ‘Stangs 25-16, 25-16 to claim gold at the Pen-Hi Lakers Senior Girls Volleyball Halloween Invitational.

The Panthers, coached by Keith Becker, came out firing in the final, with great setting from Tanner Lorenson and Ashley Condie, and solid hitting from tourney all-stars Anna Rice and Steph Mintz.

VSS’s lone loss was to Maggie (25-15, 25-19) Friday afternoon, after they had opened with a two-set win (25-9, 25-19) over the West Vancouver Highlanders. The Cats got great hustle and digs from liberos Kendra Cooper and Megan Reeves against West Van.

Vernon began Saturday playoffs by sweeping the host Lakers 25-14, 25-17 on the strength of blocking and hitting from middle Courtney Becker. Outside hitting from Kristy Fugal and right side McKenzie Kreeft added extra firepower.

In the semis, the Panthers grounded the Mount Boucherie AAAA Bears of West Kelowna 25-14, 25-23.

The Panthers, ranked No. 4 in the provincial AAA loop, are entered in the eight-team Fulton Maroon Senior Girls Invitational, which starts Friday, Nov. 7.

In junior boys action, the Maroons rallied past the Abbotsford Christian Knights 15-25, 25-10, 15-11, to secure fifth at the 20-team MEI Eagles tourney Saturday in Abbotsford.

Dan Currie’s Maroons went undefeated in round-robin play, grounding West Kelowna’s Constable Neil Bruce Cubs (25-12, 25-8), Abby Christian (25-19, 25-20) and Surrey’s Earl Marriott Mariners (25-17, 20-25, 15-4).

Fulton stuffed the Walnut Grove Gators of Langley 27-25, 25-16 in the round of 16 before bowing to the Langley Christian Lightning 25-21, 25-19 in the quarterfinals.

The Maroons have just eight players – Landon Currie, Reece Hawthorne, Brett Hanson, Kurtis Banks, Christian Harpe, Kieran Webster, David Kane and TJ Ward – and have recorded runner-up showings in two other tournaments.