By CLAUDE SCILLEY
They’ve been to the last 10 provincial championship tournaments. They’ve won a medal at each one.
They have won four Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships in the last 13 years, and they are the defending champions.
In the last two years, the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers are 27-0 in Kingston Area league and playoff matches. This year, in 14 matches, they lost just one set.
Yet, the deep thinkers of high school volleyball in the province are somehow unimpressed. They’ve seeded Regi ninth among the 20 teams entered in the AAA championship tournament, which begins Thursday at St. Clair College in Windsor.
If it makes the Panthers feel any better, one of the other two teams to share their legacy of success, Chatham-Kent, winner of five OFSAA titles in the last 12 years, has been similarly snubbed, given the No. 7 seed.
Combined, Regi, Chatham-Kent and London Oakridge have won 12 of the last 13 provincial championships.
Only Oakridge, three times an OFSAA champion in the last 10 years, has the respect of the seed committee. Oakridge is the No. 1 seed for the 20-team competition.
The next two seeds, No. 2 Agincourt of Scarborough and No. 3 Toronto St. Michael’s, have both fallen into the AAA pool after OFSAA did away with the quad-A classification in the spring. St. Mike’s was the AAAA boys volleyball champion in back-to-back years, 2010-11.
Also in the tournament are the Holy Cross Crusaders, who were beaten by Regi in the Kingston Area semifinals. That’s because EOSSAA, thanks to Regi’s history, has two berths in the tournament, and the two Kingston schools are the only triple-A teams in the region.
Regi finds itself in a five-team pool with St. Mike’s, No. 8 Forest Hills of Kitchener, No. 14 Waterdown and No. 19 West Ferris of North Bay. The Panthers will begin competition at 1:30 Thursday against Forest Heights, and follow that with a 4:30 match with West Ferris.
Holy Cross, making its second-straight appearance at OFSAA, is in a pool with fourth-ranked Mississauga, Chatham-Kent, No. 10 Jacob Hespeler of Cambridge and No. 13 Longfields-Davidson from Ottawa. The Crusaders will open at 9 a.m. against Mississauga, and end the day with a match at 4:30 against Hespeler.
Last year, Holy Cross won one of its four preliminary round matches.
Teams will play a round robin within their pool, with the top two teams advancing to the quarter-finals on Friday afternoon.
At the AA volleyball tournament in Kenora, the Kingston Blues, KASSAA finalists and eastern Ontario AA champions, are seeded fifth among the 20 teams that will begin play Thursday.
KC has been placed in a five-team pool with No. 2 St. Catharines Eden—winner of eight straight OFSAA double-A titles, 2006-13—No. 12 St. Joseph’s of Windsor, No. 15 Garth Webb of Oakville and No. 18 Applewood Heights of Mississauga.
The Blues have three matches on their opening day draw, beginning with Webb at 9 a.m. Then come dates with St. Joseph’s at noon and Eden at 3 p.m.
Franco-Cite, the defending champion from Ottawa, is the top-seeded team. The last—and only—team from eastern Ontario to win the AA crown was Brockville Collegiate, in 1985.
Kingston Area champion Holy Cross is the 14th-seeded team at the girls AAA basketball championship tournament in Windsor. The Crusaders will begin play at 2 p.m. Thursday against No. 8 Toronto Northern.
The tournament, an 18-team affair, also has been impacted by the arrival of teams who formerly competed at the AAAA level. Defending quad-A champion Edmund Campion of Brampton is seeded 11th, while St. Thomas More of Hamilton, winner of three consecutive AAAA titles, 2011-13, is the No. 3 seed.
Neither of them, however, was likely to unseat Hamilton St. Mary, the four-time defending OFSAA triple-A champion, for the top seed. The second-ranked team in the three-day affair is St. John’s of Brantford.
Teams will play a false double-knockout event, where the first-round losers get a second chance, but teams that lose in the second round or beyond are eliminated.
Holy Cross, which won the OFSAA championship in 2002, is the only Kingston Area team ever to have won it, and the last team from eastern Ontario to capture the provincial pennant.
The La Salle Black Knights will be entering a bit of a time warp when they arrive in Kingsville, for the second year in a row, to compete for the girls AA basketball championship and find themselves playing, for the second year in a row, Timmins Theriault in their opening game.
A year ago, La Salle was seeded 11th (this year the Knights are 12th) and Theriault was seeded second (this year it’s seeded first).
The Groundhog Day game will be played at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Last year, the Knights were beaten 49-17 by Theriault. They rebounded to win their second game but were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Guelph Centennial.
The EOSSAA champion, La Salle is one of two eastern Ontario schools at the 18-team tournament. Carleton Place also advanced, and is seeded 14th.
The other top-seeded teams are No. 2 Kings Christian of Oakville and No. 3 Wallaceburg.
Rideau District Lions, a perennial single-A power in Eastern Ontario, is the fourth-seeded team at the OFSAA tournament in Windsor.
The Lions will begin play at 2 p.m. Thursday against 10th-seeded Penetanguishine.
At last year’s tournament, Rideau won its first two games before bowing in the quarter-finals to North Bay Algonquin.
North Grenville of Kemptville also represents EOSSAA at the 16-team competition, where Jean Vanier of Welland is the top-seeded squad.
The Lions won the provincial title in 2004. The last team from eastern Ontario to claim a single-A OFSAA championship was St. Michael of Kemptville, in 2006.