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High-flying Pilots volleyball team heading to National Championship
The Providence Pilots women’s volleyball team is off to Kissimmee, Florida for the 2015 National Christian College Athletic Association National Championship.
With a convincing triumph at last weekend’s NCCAA regional tournament in Minneapolis the ladies consolidated their Division II rank and trail only top-seeded Maranatha Baptist University out of Wisconsin as they get set to go after a first national title since 2001.
Impressively, the Pilots didn’t drop a single set in Minneapolis as they saw off North Dakota’s Trinity Bible College and tournament hosts North Central University. Shayna Staerk led the way with 32 kills, 12 digs, and 6 aces, and Sam Bridle contributed 70 assists.
“We are excited to win our region and qualify for nationals once again,” remarked head coach Scott Masterson. “I am proud of the team for earning the number-two seed at the national tournament, which is the first time in school history we’ve been seeded that high.”
Masterson, who has guided the team to 17 wins from 21 matches, was named Region Coach of the Year for his efforts, and Staerk claimed the Region MVP award.
Bridle, LaRae Penner, and Danella Alvaro were named to the All-Region Team.
Next up for Providence is a Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference showdown with Red River College on Friday, after which they’ll fly south for the November 12-14 National Championship.
Added Masterson: “We are excited for the opportunity to play for a national championship and hope we can continue to play some of our best volleyball.”
The Providence soccer sides were also involved in regional tournaments on October 30 and 31, and both came within a single victory of joining the volleyball team in Florida next week.
Two goals from Courtney Engel helped the women’s squad to a 2-1 win over Iowa’s Faith Baptist Bible College on Friday, but a 4-0 loss to North Central in Saturday’s final put an end to the Pilots campaign.
“This weekend was a good way to end our season,” said coach Joel Coursey. “I think it showed how much improvement we made over the past two months.”
The men, meanwhile, required a win against Faith in order to punch their ticket to the National Championship but were eventually beaten by a golden goal in extra time.
Mitchell Martens scored and assisted for Providence and, having scored 15 MCAC goals in 2015, was named Region MVP.
“It’s always breathtaking to come so close to a championship and lose on a golden goal in overtime,” analyzed head coach Martin Ward. “We wish Faith well as they represent the region at nationals and we now turn our attention to recruiting and coming back stronger next year.”
Finally, the Pilots men’s basketball team won back-to-back matches against Bemidji, Minnesota’s Oak Hills Christian College on Friday and Saturday.
“It was a good start to the season for us,” stated head coach Colten Gryba. “We had some good stretches this weekend but also had some moments that showed our youth, and we made a lot of little mistakes that allowed Oak Hills to stay in the games.”
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