(London, Ontario) – The #1 Fanshawe Men's Volleyball team completed a perfect 25-0 season and made history, capturing the school's first ever CCAA National Championship in volleyball. The Falcons defeated the host Red Deer Kings three sets to one in Red Deer, Alberta on Saturday evening.
In front of a sold out Red Deer crowd, the Fanshawe squad got off to a hot start. Falcons middle Mike Liscumb (Ilderton, ON) shut down the Kings' attacks with three blocks in the opening set. Fanshawe got kills from Zach Albert (Brampton, ON) and James Jackson (London, ON) to go up big, 23-10. The Falcons were excellent from the service line in the first set, with zero service errors. London native Cole Jordan completed the frame with a pipe attack to give Fanshawe a dominant 25-12 first set victory.
A Jackson block gave the Falcons an early 4-3 lead in the second set. Playing in his final game as a Falcon, fifth-year libero David Gundrum (Port Elgin, ON) had some great digs that resulted in Fanshawe points to extend their lead to 23-13. Liscumb and Albert had a pair of kills for the Birds as they continued to break down the Red Deer defence with surgical precision. Fanshawe took the second set 25-13.
Red Deer found their rhythm in the third set, using the energy from their home crowd to take a 13-8 lead. The Kings continued to block Fanshawe's attacks throughout the frame. Although the Falcons chipped away at Red Deer's lead, the early deficit was too much to overcome and Fanshawe dropped the third set 25-22.
The Falcons regrouped in set four and jumped out to a quick 6-1 advantage on a kill from rookie James Pratt (Uxbridge, ON). Fanshawe extended their lead to 12-6 on a perfect set from Sebastian Lethbridge (London, ON) to Liscumb for the kill. The Kings would not let up, going on a 6-1 run of their own to get back within one point of the Falcons. Fanshawe's depth once again proved to be key, as back-to-back points from Cole Jordan maintained the Falcons lead. The Birds would go on to win the set 25-23 and the match 3-1 to claim their first ever gold medal. Seven different Falcons recorded points in the National Championship victory. Gundrum was named the player of the match as well as a CCAA Tournament First Team All-Star. Albert was also named to the First Team, while Jackson was named a Second Team All-Star. Lethbridge was named the MVP for his outstanding play throughout the tournament and the team also received the CCAA Exemplary Leadership Award.
Fanshawe Head Coach Patrick Johnston was extremely proud of his team and said "I'm so happy for the guys who have been a part of this process for the past few years. They've worked each day towards this goal since last year's CCAA Championship Final and to have it pay off feels incredible".