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Vernon Panthers take Best of West tourney in Kelowna

VSS junior girls defeat host Owls in volleyball final
The Vernon Panthers won the Best of the West Junior Girls volleyball championship tournament in Kelowna, beating the host KSS Owls in the final. Team members include (front, from left) Amelia Spitzer, Devyn Hildebrand, Kaydence Kitzul; back row (from left) Kenidy West, Charlotte Schommer, Paige Leahy, Avery Stringer, Sadie Quinton, Peyton Romeril, Addy Beacom. (Contributed)

Any doubt the Vernon Panthers Junior A girls volleyball team is among the best around was wiped away on the weekend.

The Junior Cats went to Kelowna and the 32-team Best of the West tournament, and brought home the championship trophy following a 25-21, 14-25, 15-11 over the host Owls in the final.

“The girls are playing excellent volleyball over the start of the season and have cemented themselves as a top team in the valley and province,” said head coach Mike Bertram, who gave way to assistant Camryn Beacom for the tourney. “She stepped in and coached the team to victory. Her leadership was amazing.”

Devyn Hildebrand of VSS was the tournament MVP, while Kaydence Kitzul and Charlotte Schommer were all-stars. Teammate Amelia Spitzer was named the tourney’s top libero.

In pool play, VSS beat Kelowna’s Okanagan Mission Huskies – who won the VSS tournament two weeks ago – 25-11, 25-11. They followed that up by beating Pacific Academy from Surrey 25-11, 25-14 and then Summerland, 25-17, 25-20.

In the quarterfinals the Panthers beat Prince George 25-12, 25-13 and swept Abbotsford Christinan 25-20, 25-19 in the final four.

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