Panthers ice Lakers for Mustang Mania

VSS Panthers sweep Pen-Hi Lakers 25-19, 25-16 in Saturday’s final of the Mustang Mania Senior Girls Volleyball Tournament in Penticton.

The VSS Panthers swept the Pen-Hi Lakers 25-19, 25-16 in Saturday’s final of the Mustang Mania Senior Girls Volleyball Tournament in Penticton.

Coached by Keith Becker, the 10th-ranked AAA Cats presented their Workhorse Awards to Hanna Nesbit, who took control of the setting when all-star setter Mary Rice injured her ankle warming up for game two,  and Kelsey Tkachuk, who stepped in to play some Libero, right side and setter.

Vernon brushed off the Rutland Voodoos 25-17, 25-12 and Keremeos 25-9, 25-16 in round one of pool play, earning a spot in the power pool with the AAAA Lakers and the Brookswood Bobcats of Langley.

The Brookswood match was a very scrappy back and forth affair with hard serves from the Bobcats and hard-hitting attacks from the Panthers, who won 25-16, 25-12.

The Panthers started off slow verus Pen-Hi, and were down 7-2 in a hurry.

“With a time-out called to re-group, and to adjust the plan, we then came back hard and found ourselves up in the game 16-11,” said Becker.

“This was the momentum needed to continue to brush back the Lakers with big blocks from all our front row players. We then went on to win set one 25-16, only to find the next two sets very tough, and a third set loss of 17-15, finishing second in power pool play.”

The Panthers then bounced the Valleyview Vikings of Kamloops 25-17, 25-21 in the semifinals.

VSS were ready for a very tough final match, and after falling behind 15-8, Becker called a time-out.

“The girls went back on the court to play the game they knew they could,” said Becker. “With a few quick points up the middle, and some big hits from the back row, we soon found ourselves back in the game, at 16-16. Only allowing Pen-Hi to get three more points, the game ended 25-19, with 6-foot-1 middle hitter Ashtyn Mackenzie’s big kill from power to win the game and set the tone for set two.”

The Panthers entertained the Fulton Maroons Tuesday night.