The London District Christian Secondary School (LDCSS) boys’ volleyball team jumped up eight spots in the standings to upset Woodland Christian High School (WCHS) and qualify for the semi-finals at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Single A playoffs this season.
Eric Lammers, head coach of the LDCSS Pioneers and teacher, says he knew the team was better than their seeding indicated.
The Pioneers finished their regular season with four wins and six losses, and then won all of their Western Ontario Secondary School Athletics Association (WOSSAA) championship games, including a 3-0 win over the West Elgin Wildcats on home court.
“We have a very tough league schedule because we had to play the bigger city schools,” says Lammers.
Teams are categorized on the size of their population. LDCSS has just less than 300 students, making it an A team. They compete against larger schools like Oakridge Secondary School (AAA with between 901 and 1,250 students) and Saunders Secondary School (AAAA with more than 1,250 students).
At OFSAA the teams are returned into divisions categorized by their student population.
For the OFSAA qualifying game against West Elgin the LDCSS hosted a buy-out for students at $2 a head to come watch the game. He says 260 of 285 students were in attendance to support the Pioneers.
The funds raised were donated to the Sud Academy, a London-based group of volunteers who support the operating costs of a school in Nairobi, Kenya that was established to educate young Sudanese refugees.
The overwhelming turnout demonstrated the school community is willing and able to celebrate each other’s gifts, says Lammers.
The high point of the tournament was the victory over WCHS in the quarterfinals.
“They were a very, very strong team,” says Lammers. “We were euphoric there.”
Lammers was also impressed that three of the top four teams at OFSAA were Christian schools.
This year Quinte Christian High School, St. Thomas Aquinas High School and LDCSS were in the top four. Lammers says three of the top four teams were Christians schools last season, as well.
“It’s never been like this,” says Lammers. “We used to be barely able to compete.”
“I think it’s great exposure, and it’s definitely rewarding to see that the work we’re doing is producing great volleyball,” says Lammers.