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Pilots women’s volleyball team headed to NCCAA National Championship in Florida
The Providence Pilots women’s volleyball team is headed back to the National Christian College Athletic Association National Championship in Kissimmee, Florida.
Ranked second at Division II level, they will enter the competition as an “at large” selection, determined by the NCCAA tournament committee and based on a season of exceptional performance.
Presently a perfect 5-0 in Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference play, the Pilots are 18-3 overall this campaign and have so far dropped just 16 sets.
Last weekend, at the NCCAA North Region Tournament in Minneapolis, MN, the women dispatched Chicago, IL’s Moody Bible Institute 3-0 before dropping a tense, 3-2 decision to Watertown, WI’s Maranatha Baptist University—the top-seeded Division II team in the United States.
Third-year left side Shayna Staerk executed 21 kills and 19 digs over the weekend, and third-year right side LaRae Driedger added 19 kills and 22 digs.
Second-year left side Danella Alvaro, third-year setter Sam Bridle and third-year middle Sara Barker each earned places on the NCCAA All-Region 1st Team, and Driedger was named to the 2nd Team.
“It was a fantastic weekend of volleyball,” remarked head coach Kyle Guenther. “In a pressure-filled match against Moody we played our most complete volleyball of the year and handled a good team in straight sets. Against Maranatha we battled hard and were points away from taking the match in the fifth set.”
Guenther, who was named North Region Coach of the Year, praised his team’s overall “strong play” as he looked ahead to the November 15-19 National Championship.
“We belong with the top teams in the nation, and hopefully we can show that next week in Florida,” he said.
The Providence soccer sides were also engaged in NCCAA Regional contests over the weekend, and the women progressed all the way to the tournament final in Ankeny, IA.
Julika Kehler—the Pilots’ taliswoman throughout the season—scored an eye-popping five goals in an 8-0 semi-final triumph over Ankeny’s Faith Baptist Bible College. In the final, however, Providence came up short in a 6-0 loss to Maranatha.
But Kehler, Courtney Engel and Amelia Reimer each won spots in the All Region XI, and head coach Tory Walker praised his team’s progress since breaking camp in August.
“I am really excited to see how the women grew through the season, and I know next year with the returning players we will be a force,” he said. “We have done nothing but become better and better from game to game.”
The Pilots men were also eliminated by Maranatha—the tournament host scoring the only goal of a tight encounter just seconds from the end of extra time.
“It was an absolute battle against Maranatha that came down to the wire,” analyzed head coach Joey Passi. “I’m proud of the guys. They showed a lot of heart. Even though things didn’t go our way it was a great season with this team.”
Pilots players Herby Magny and Braiden Owen were named to the All Region XI.
(Top to bottom: The Pilots women's volleyball team celebrates a point; Danella Alvaro; Sam Bridle, LaRae Driedger, Kyle Guenther, Sara Barker and Danella Alvaro show off their awards.)


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