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Pilots basketball teams represent Providence in U.S.
Both Pilots basketball teams were in the United States last weekend, representing Providence in Minnesota and Missouri.
The men’s 97-71 triumph over Kansas City’s Calvary Bible College was a highlight of the road trip, which packed three games into three days for both squads, although the Providence student athletes represented their school and community with pride and class throughout the tour.
Back in Manitoba, the volleyball teams won every match they played as they continued to march toward the play-offs later this month.
It was on Friday, at the neutral site of Moberly, Missouri, that the men’s basketball team beat Calvary by 26 points. Richard Rodgers, who proved particularly adept beyond the arc, posted 19 points in the win while Donovan Miller contributed 12.
A day earlier the Pilots had lost a narrow, 89-85 contest to the North Central University Rams in Minneapolis—a defeat that was especially disappointing as they had led for much of the game. But Romeo KC’s 23 points and Daniel Dekleva’s 11 rebounds provided silver linings, as did Cash Blanca’s 20 points in a 90-79 loss to Moberly’s Central Christian College of the Bible Saints on Saturday.
“Overall it was a great road trip for us,” remarked head coach Colten Gryba. “It’s never easy going on the road for three games in three days, but the guys competed hard in every game and put a solid product on the floor.”
The women, meanwhile, followed up a 57-37 loss at NCU with a close, 73-64 defeat at Central Christian in which Amber Harms recorded 16 points, 12 rebounds, and three assists. Lauren Wiebe added a further 12 points—all of them from three-point territory.
On Saturday Harms and Courtney Engel combined for 34 points, although the Pilots were edged 76-69 by the same opponent.
“It would have been nice to get a win this weekend, but I’m pleased with our results against Central Christian,” analyzed head coach Joel Coursey. “We’ve struggled to score lately, so I was happy to see us put up mid-60s in back-to-back nights.”
He added: “The trip was a great experience for the players. It’s fun for everyone when you get to travel together for a few days and play some good basketball.”
In volleyball, the men’s outfit extended their winning streak to 12 by beating Les Rouges de l’Universite de Saint-Boniface 3-0 on Thursday and the Canadian Mennonite University Blazers 3-0 on Friday.
Head Coach Jason Peters was impressed that his players were able to compensate for starter Willie Goosen’s absence through injury, highlighting the contributions of Erik Wiebe, Sam Toews, and Cullen Klassen in the Saint-Boniface win. A day later Toews executed nine kills against CMU and Greg Dueck delivered another 12.
“We will be starting our play-off preparation soon but have one more league game at CMU this week,” said Peters. “We know we can’t stop improving if we want to achieve our goal this year, so we will keep pushing ahead.”
The Pilots are positioned comfortably atop the standings and will go into the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference play-offs—to be held February 26-27 in Otterburne—as the top seed.
The women’s volleyball team, after beating Saint-Boniface 3-0 and CMU 3-2, will be ranked second in the MCAC when the play-offs begin. Shayna Staerk executed a combined 33 points in the pair of wins on Thursday and Friday, and Sam Bridle put up 86 assists.
“What we can take away from the CMU match is that we found a way to win while not playing our best volleyball,” analyzed head coach Scott Masterson. “Unfortunately, with how late we are getting in the season, this is not the kind of thing we want to rely on every match.”
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