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Pilots soccer teams clinch play-off places
2016-10-25
 
In what was an important and occasionally tense weekend for the Providence sports teams the Pilots soccer sides clinched Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) play-off places while the volleyball outfits began the provincial season unbeaten.
 
Both basketball teams were also in action, tipping off their MCAC campaigns against the Red River College Rebels on Friday, and both sustained losses against their Winnipeg opponents.
 
As it happened, it was on the soccer field that the weekend’s highest dramas played out.
 
Needing results against the Canadian Mennonite University Blazers in order to qualify for the MCAC semi-finals, both teams earned vital draws at the Winnipeg Soccer Complex to finish fourth in their respective tables. Both, impressively, also played four matches in six days last week.
 
After dropping a 2-0 decision to Maranatha Baptist University in Watertown, Wisconsin on October 17, the Pilots women rebounded with an impressive 3-0 victory over Minneapolis, Minnesota’s North Central University the following day. Courtney Engel scored twice in the triumph, and Julika Kehler found the back of the net as well.
 
A 4-0 defeat to the Brandon University Bobcats on October 22 had the ladies under considerable pressure to get at least a draw from their showdown with CMU a day later, and once again Engel and Kehler came through—each scoring in the vital 2-0 win.
 
Going into the play-offs Engel has 11 goals and 10 assists from 11 matches while Kehler’s 14 goals leads the team.
 
“We showed some great toughness and chemistry this week,” analyzed head coach Tory Walker. “We really needed a result on Sunday and we proved we are a tough team to play against. I’m really proud of the way we responded to the challenge and stuck to our game plan.
 
On the men’s side, the Pilots lost 3-1 to Maranatha and 5-2 at NCU, although Herby Magny scored in both matches.
 
Back in Manitoba, however, they were able to grind out a 1-0 win against the Bobcats before earning the all-important point against CMU—Magny tallying again in the 1-1 draw.
 
“We came into the weekend needing results in order to make the play-offs,” remarked head coach Joey Passi. “I thought we had a great game against Brandon and did what we set out to accomplish against a team that is always dangerous. Against CMU we once again showed mental toughness by scoring in the 78th minute to get the point we needed.”
 
The men will now face the top-ranked Les Rouges de l’Universite de Saint-Boniface in Saturday’s semi-final while the women will take on the first-place Rebels. All play-off matches will take place at Red River’s Norm Konowalchuk soccer complex.
 
In volleyball, the reigning MCAC champion Pilots men opened their regular season with a straight-sets victory over the Rebels on October 19 in Winnipeg and beat the Assiniboine Community College Cougars twice over the weekend in Otterburne.
 
The women—also reigning MCAC champions—won all three of their matches against the same opposition as well. LaRae Driedger executed 20 kills, 14 digs and eight blocks to begin the campaign and Sam Bridle contributed 81 assists, 10 digs and six aces.
 
“We had a strong start to our MCAC schedule,” said head coach Kyle Guenther. “It was great to see the team come out and be on top of our game for most of these matches. Our goal now is to compete to the best of our abilities for an entire match, from start to finish.”
 

         

 
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