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Providence teams well-positioned for February play-offs
The Providence basketball and volleyball teams are well-positioned for next month’s play-offs following another impressive run of results.
Amber Harms was named Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week as the women’s basketball outfit posted a pair of victories over provincial opposition, and the Pilots men, after a difficult loss to the University of Winnipeg College Wesmen, rattled off three wins on the bounce.
In volleyball, both the men’s and women’s squads continued their excellent play with triumphs at Canadian Mennonite University.
Harms, a forward from Winnipeg in her second year at Providence, recorded 14 points and nine rebounds in a 65-38 win at the U of W on January 19. The next day, in an exhibition match with Les Rouges de l’Universite de Saint-Boniface, she claimed 11 rebounds to go along with 10 points.
“Amber is a very valuable second-year player for us,” head coach Joel Coursey told the MCAC. “[She] is hardworking, with a strong understanding of the game.”
On Friday, in National Christian College Athletic Association action, the women lost 66-37 to Ellendale, North Dakota’s Trinity Bible College, and the Lions swept the back-to-back series by winning Saturday’s match 52-30 in Otterburne.
“I was impressed with how we played this week,” analyzed Coursey. “I don’t think we’ve maxed out our potential, and I look forward to seeing how we improve with a month remaining in the regular season.”
On the men’s side, the first-place Pilots opened a jam-packed week with a 75-56 defeat at the U of W before rebounding with an exhibition win against l’Universite de Saint-Boniface.
By the weekend they were back in their groove—beating Trinity for the first time since 2008 on Friday and on Saturday sweeping the Lions for the first time since 2005.
Friday’s 87-79 victory featured a 24-point showing from Winnipeg’s Cash Blanca, while fellow Winnipegger Harold Memita led the way with 20 points in Saturday’s 68-58 win.
“After playing some of the worst basketball we have played all year against the Wesmen I was extremely proud of the effort the boys put forward versus Trinity, who are always in the mix for a Regional Championship,” remarked head coach Colten Gryba. “We still need to work on a few of the small things but overall it was a great weekend for our team and our program.”
Meanwhile, the Pilots men’s volleyball team improved to 8-1 in the MCAC after beating the Canadian Mennonite University Blazers in four sets on Saturday. Only four matches remain on their regular season schedule, including a showdown with second-place Red River College on Saturday in Otterburne.
“We played another solid match and got an important road win,” stated head coach Jason Peters following the CMU victory. “The guys competed hard and we got another standout performance from Greg Dueck on the offensive end.”
The Pilots women also defeated CMU in four sets but began the week with a set-back at the first-place U of W. Nevertheless, they remain comfortably second in the MCAC with six matches remaining, after which they’ll host the provincial play-offs.
LaRae Penner executed 22 kills in the two matches, and Shayna Staerk put down 20 against CMU alone.
“This was one of those matches where we had to find a way to win, even though we were struggling on many levels,” said head Scott Masterson after the CMU victory. “In the end, I think we were pleased to be able to come away from this match with a win.”
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