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Providence Sports Round-Up: A Week of Learning Experiences

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Providence University College in Otterburne. Jennifer Lavin

The Providence Pilots men’s soccer team defeated the North Central University Rams on November 5 with a final score of 4–3. The next day, the team fell to the Crown College Polars 1–2.

“We played a very good North Central team on Friday and got a great win after losing to them earlier in the season,” says head coach Mo Cato. “The boys played extremely well but expended a lot of energy in securing the win. Even though the boys gave it their all on Saturday in the regional finals against Crown, it was clear that we were a tired group. Despite the loss, our record and power ranking were strong enough to secure the at-large bid to the national tournament.”

The Pilots will be heading to Kissimmee, Florida this weekend for the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Tournament where they earned the wildcard spot and number two seed.

“We are looking forward to playing some great soccer in Florida and to make sure that the players also have a great experience,” says Cato.

The university’s women’s soccer team will be heading to Florida this weekend as well after becoming the NCCAA North Region Champions in a winning weekend. The Pilots beat the Maranatha Baptist University Sabercats 5–0, and then the Crown College Polars 2–1.

“In the week leading up to the NCCAA regional final, our team’s focus was being mentally ready and not leaving any regrets on the field,” says women’s coach Tory Walker. “The week before, during our Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) final, we played good system soccer but forgot the mental side of our game… All year as a coach I have been promoting to our team that we need to be learners of the game and learn and grow each day. We learned a good lesson from our MCAC final loss to USB and didn’t make the same mistake twice.”

Chloe Jahn, a midfielder from Langley, B.C. who’s in her final year of competition for Providence, says she’s still so elated about the result of the regional finals game.

“I’m beyond proud of this team, the way we gave it our all and held nothing back,” Jahn says. “Every single player contributed to that win, and I couldn’t be more thankful to finish my last season with such an incredible group of girls. The show isn’t over yet, though. We are so pumped to head to Florida for nationals and can’t wait to fight for that trophy for Canada. It’s gonna be a good one.”

Volleyball

The Pilots women’s volleyball team won against the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) Blazers 3–0 with final tallies of 25–22, 25–20, and 27–25. The next day, the tables were turned as the Pilots lost to CMU 0–3 with scores of 20–25, 16–25, and 20–25.

Head Coach Kyle Guenther says,

“This weekend was as up and down as you could get,” head coach Kyle Guenther reflects. “Our home opener was a special night. We had a packed crowd for our first encounter with CMU. I was very encouraged by how we started and how we executed the entire match. We established our game plan early, which led us to having quite a few offensive options all night.”

On the second night, however, he says they were a very different team.

“We couldn’t come out of the gates strong and didn’t really find [our strength] all match,” says Guenther. “Our serve receive was a notch lower and credit to CMU for serving tough in their own gym. We were a step behind on our block and just made too many errors to be effective.”

The men’s volleyball team had a similar up and down weekend with a 1–3 loss to CMU, then a 3–0 win against CMU.

Head coach Cody Quiring calls it a growth weekend.

“We opened Friday at home in front of an outstanding Pilots Nation crowd,” Quiring says. “However, we were unable to close the match out after struggling to find our rhythm in our serve and pass systems… The squad saw contributions [on Saturday] from a variety of young men on the court throughout the weekend and many lessons were learned, but I have been ultimately most impressed with each team member and the role they’ve played each day in our training as of late. It’s a special group and our depth, passion and joy for the game will go a long way. The team is excited to get back home for a doubleheader this coming weekend.”

Both the men’s and women’s volleyball teams will face the Assiniboine Community College (ACC) Cougars next weekend for at-home doubleheaders.

Basketball

In women’s basketball, the women’s team lost two exhibition games last weekend against the Mayville State University (MSU) Comets.

“Mayville is an exceptionally strong National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) program and is projected as a top-two team in their conference,” says coach Joel Coursey. “They beat us by about 70 each game, but my team didn’t stop pushing until the buzzer. We ran and competed with them all game long, turning them over 30 times in the second game. We may have lost by a large number, but we didn’t stray from our effort and enthusiasm. There is much mutual respect between our programs despite the difference of levels. If we are able to play at the speed of this past weekend, when we hit regular season games next week, we will run teams out of the gym.”

The men’s basketball team suffered the same fate as their female counterparts, losing two exhibition matches against Mayville State University.

Coach Pierre Dubreuil says that playing Mayville is always an honour and a great experience for players in the Providence program.

“It is a well-coached team with talented athletic players,” says Dubreuil. “We struggled early on to get to their level, but after eight minutes in the first game the team picked up the rhythm and showed great effort to compete at a high level. The team competed hard for the rest of the game, focusing on one play at a time and fighting well on both ends of the court. Game two started off well but quickly turned out to be a very challenging first half for the team. Playing two games of that calibre back-to-back is always a challenge… We are on a learning curve, a very positive one. The team is now looking to quickly recover before a long three games in Minneapolis”.

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams will head out next weekend on the longest road trip of their season, kicking off their NCCAA competition with Crown College, Central Christian College of the Bible, and Calvary University.

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