iN VIDEO: Vernon Christian School volleyball stars a 'once in a lifetime team' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN VIDEO: Vernon Christian School volleyball stars a 'once in a lifetime team'

November 16, 2019 - 7:00 AM

There must be something in the water at Vernon Christian School.

At least that’s the perception surrounding the small school as its team of ironclad giants, the senior boys' volleyball team, carves its name into B.C. volleyball history.

Whatever is causing the phenomenon is hidden even from coaches Dwayne Remple and Chris Bannick, the mighty duo that has lead the boys to victory since they started the sport. But this year is where their true colours have shown.

“I think what’s making them really strong is their commitment level to play the sport since they were in Grade 6, Grade 7,” said Bannick. “A lot of them play outside of school at clubs and camps they go to and grass courts in the summertime. They also play for Team BC, so they’re putting in the hours, the dedication, the hard work. That helps immensely in terms of their skill development, their teamwork. As well as being a small school, they know each other really well… That helps to make more of a team chemistry.”

And that chemistry earned the eight boys a spot in provincials in Castlegar Nov. 21 to 23 after they cleaned house at the Okanagan Valley Championships in Lumby Nov. 9.

“They’re more like brothers than they are teammates,” Remple added.

Remple and Bannick said they haven’t seen a team like this in their many years as coaching. Out of the four graduating boys, three have offers to play volleyball at various universities in Canada. One intends to study engineering and may play on the side.

“All the boys get a lot of interest from various universities,” said Bannick. “We’ll be very proud to send them away.”

However, while half of the team will graduate this year, Remple and Bannick anticipate a strong team next season.

“They all play for Team BC. For the last three or four years they’ve all played,” said Remple of the four Grade 11 phenoms.

Vernon Christian School Royals' Levi VanderDeen goes low to save the rally against King's Christian School in Single-A level volleyball action in Lumby Saturday, Nov. 9. The Royals earned a provincials berth and will go to Castlegar Nov. 21.
Vernon Christian School Royals' Levi VanderDeen goes low to save the rally against King's Christian School in Single-A level volleyball action in Lumby Saturday, Nov. 9. The Royals earned a provincials berth and will go to Castlegar Nov. 21.

While hard work and dedication to the craft are pivotal to the Royals’ success, there’s something else going on – something inexplicable.

At five-foot-ten, libero Shaun Huizinga is the only Royal under the six-foot mark. In fact, he’s the only player sub-six-foot-three. Braeden McAmmond comes in second for shortest member of the Royals at six-foot-three. Jacob Defeo, Ben Molitwenik and Levi VanderDeen take the middle each at six-foot-four, and then there are the “giants": Liam Remple at six-foot-seven and Devin Hofsink at six-foot-eight.

“I’ve said once before, it’s kind of pure luck they’re all that tall. We look at these guys and, genetically when you look at their families, some of them don’t have a lot of height in their family either. For us as coaches it’s just a great blessing to have giants,” Remple laughed. “I used to be the tallest guy on the team, and slowly these guys have been passing me.”

“Not only do you get the height, but also skill and teamwork and fellowship. You can have all the skill or be shorter but you won’t go very far in this sport,” added Bannick. “This really is a once in a lifetime kind of team coming through at our school.”

Despite their success, none of the players have reached their peak.

“As good as they are now, we keep thinking, ‘Wow. We’ve got the best seat in the house,’” Remple said. “Come next year, we’ll have to be sitting in the stands watching some of the boys play. I’m excited to follow them and see where their careers go."


To contact a reporter for this story, email Parker Crook or call (250) 864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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