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Pilots soccer teams secure play-off places
The Providence Pilots soccer teams clinched play-off spots despite mixed results in Otterburne and Winnipeg last weekend.
After losing 3-1 at home to the first-place Canadian Mennonite University Blazers on Saturday the men’s side rebounded with an important 2-1 victory at the Red River College Rebels on Sunday.
Red River would have leapfrogged Providence in the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference standings with a win, but another game-changing performance from Steinbach’s Mitchell Martens ensured the guests finished third in the standings—one point clear of both the Rebels and the Brandon University Bobcats.
Martens, whose 14 goals tops the MCAC leader-board, won and converted a first-half penalty before his hard cross was turned into goal by a Red River defender. The hosts halved their deficit after the restart, but once again Pilots goalkeeper Liam Hodges made a handful of key saves to preserve the three points.
“One of the things that has distinguished our soccer team over the years is our team spirit and the respectful attitude we try to display on the field,” reflected head coach Martin Ward. “I was very pleased with the effort and attitude shown by everyone.”
The Pilots, who are hosting the MCAC soccer play-offs this weekend, will take on the Universite de Saint-Boniface Les Rouges in one of Saturday’s semi-finals with CMU battling Brandon University in the other.
The winners will contest the provincial final on Sunday at 3:00 p.m., by which time the women’s champions will have already been crowned.
Outscored a combined 7-0 in their final two matches of the regular season the Pilots women nevertheless finished fourth in the MCAC and will host Red River in one of Saturday’s semi-finals. They opened the weekend with a narrow 1-0 defeat to CMU in Otterburne before losing 6-0 to Red River in Winnipeg.
“The girls played one of their best games of the season,” remarked coach Joel Coursey following the CMU defeat. “I was very happy with their effort and how far we’ve come this year. We had a few scoring chances but just couldn’t beat their ‘keeper. The game could have gone either way.”
CMU will face Brandon University in the other semi-final.
Rounding out the weekend, the Pilots women’s volleyball team once again impressed against strong opposition at the Lake Region Tournament in Devils Lake, North Dakota.
After losing their opening match 3-2 to Jamestown JV—just their third defeat of the season—the ladies rattled off successive victories over Bismarck State College, Lake Region Stage College, and Dakota College at Bottineau.
They’ll next face the University of Winnipeg College Wesmen on Wednesday in MCAC action.
“I thought this was our most complete team effort,” said head coach Scott Masterson following the tournament. “We are playing high-quality volleyball right now. If we maintain this quality and keep playing with as much heart and effort as we did this past weekend we’ll be a tough team to beat.”
Steinbach’s LaRae Penner led the team with 82 kills while Winnipeg’s Sam Bridle contributed 194 assists and Steinbach’s Savannah Friesen put up 20 blocks.
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