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Men win big while women split weekend series

by Naaman Sturrup

The Providence Pilots men’s volleyball team exited the weekend with two convincing wins against Canadian Mennonite University and Red River College. They are now tied for first place with CMU.

The women’s team faced two turbulent games which went into 5 sets, losing to Canadian Mennonite University and winning against Red River College.

Against CMU, the game seemed unrecoverable when the men’s team lost the two opening sets. However, the team recouped and made a great comeback, winning the next three sets 25-19,25-18,15-12 respectively. Left side Adrian Dyck led the way with 25 kills and 4 digs, Tyler Enns chipped in 10 kills and 7 digs, and star setter Lucas Pappel contributed 55 assists and 14 digs.

Head coach Scott Masterson was impressed with the win, and though they lost the two opening sets, he liked their overall play. “This was a character win for our guys and a big confidence builder. Even though we lost the first two sets, we felt like we were playing the right way and making good decisions. We just needed to start executing with finishing points. Once we started executing on our side of the net then I thought we had the upper hand for the rest of the match.”

The men’s team swept all three sets against Red River. Left side Adrian Dyck led the charge yet again with 14 kills and 3 aces, Brett Foley produced 11 kills and 3 blocks, and Pappel contributed 44 assists and 2 blocks. Although noting a slight dip in execution in the second set, coach Masterson stated that “we came out and played with the same level of focus and intensity as we had the night before against CMU, which is a great show of character.”

In women’s action, the Pilots seemed to be in control as they went up 2-1 entering the fourth set against CMU. However, after losing a heartbreaking 25-23 set, the girls could not recover and lost 15-9 in their last set. Against Red River, though winning their first set 25-13, the Pilots went down 1-2 sets entering the fourth set. However, the Pilots hung on to win two straight sets. Standout right side LaRae Driedger led the way with 32 kills and 13 digs, Shayna Staerk produced 23 kills and 18 digs, and Danella Alvaro chipped in 20 kills and 27 digs.

Head coach Kyle Guenther noted the toughness of both games, and though they brought a lot of energy in the games, they are still looking to improve their play.

“It was a tough weekend for our group. We faced a very good team in CMU on Friday night and got outplayed for the most of that match. They brought a high level and a lot of energy to that match and got the better of us. It took quite a bit out of us which seemed to roll into our match against Red River on Saturday. We had a tough time ending points against a very good defensive team in the Rebels. As we reach the end of the regular season this week, we are still searching for our best volleyball. I know we have it in us but we will need to work hard and stay focused and determined to peak in the next couple of weeks.”

The volleyball teams’ next matchups are February 10 when they face the University of Winnipeg.

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