Men's volleyball team secures CCAA silver medal to complete stellar season
Credit: FANSHAWE ATHLETICS
After an outstanding season, the Fanshawe men's volleyball team walks away from the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association CCAA Championships with a silver medal. This is the second time the Falcons have reached the national podium in just three short years.
Although the squad fell just short of gold, the team proved to the Canadian college volleyball community why it came into the finals as the top seed in the country.
On their way to the gold medal game, this year's squad swept the West Ontario league, finished first at the Provincial Championships, and then beat two incredibly tough teams in the quarter- and semi-finals of the national tournament.
The Falcons dominated the first set of the championship match, with superb play at the service line and powerful offense at the net. Unfortunately, after dropping two agonizingly close sets, the team was unable to recover and succumbed 3-1 to perennial medalists from Quebec, the Titans de Limoilou.
Sebastian Lethbridge of London, Ont. was named Fanshawe's Player of the Match. While, Lethbridge and Cole Jordan, also of London, were both named First Team Tournament All-Stars.
The loss to Limoilou represents the only blemish on an otherwise perfect season for the men's volleyball team. The Falcons completed the year with a remarkable 24-1 overall record.
The squad's silver medal signifies the highest achievement of any Fanshawe volleyball team in the history of the college, male or female, at the national level.
The team's unparalleled success this season was, however, rather unsurprising; falling in line with an upward trend from the last five years.
Since taking over as head coach in 2013, Patrick Johnston has reinvigorated a program that had only seen the provincial podium two times in the previous 30 years.
In the short five seasons with Johnston at the helm, the Falcons have earned two Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) bronze medals, two OCAA gold medals, one CCAA bronze medal, and now a CCAA silver medal.
“I couldn't be more proud of what the boys accomplished this year. It's a tremendous accomplishment and though we fell one win short, it was a big step for our program,” Johnston said of his 2017/18 team.
With a number of players eligible to return next season, the men's volleyball squad will be able to build upon established strengths and move forward as a cohesive unit.
In fact, if Johnston's comments are any indication, the team is already looking to the future.
“It's really rewarding to hear the guys talking about what we need to improve for next year. We'll take some time off to reflect and watch film and we'll get back at it in the summer to prepare for the 2018/19 season,” Johnston said.
As any competitive athlete or coach knows, silver is not satiating. Its bestowal only makes one starve for gold.
The Birds will be back; hungrier than ever.