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MCAC Championships

The MCAC men’s and women’s volleyball playoffs wrapped up last weekend at Canadian Mennonite University with a few surprises. With single game elimination, anything can happen and it is very difficult to win in consecutive years. The Providence men’s volleyball team had to fight to make it into the playoffs as the 4th seed. The last few weeks of the season were high stress, as every game mattered for a playoff berth. Going up against the number 1 seed in the first game is difficult especially when Providence had only beaten them once back in October. Unfortunately for Pilot fans, there would be no Cinderella story this year as the Pilots dropped 3 straight sets (25-19, 25-18, 25-19). The College Wesmen had a strong performance against the bottom seed Providence. The match proved why the Wesmen were the top team for most of the season and showed their 17-3 record to be honest. The Wesmen continued on to win the MCAC Championship in a terrific comeback win against the Red River Rebels, in a five set thriller. Congratulations to Pilots players, Josh Doerksen of New Bothwell and Erik Wiebe of Kleefeld on receiving All-Conference awards. This being the first season that the Pilots have competed in the MCAC, it was a success. The Pilots made the playoffs, and were .500 with a 10-10 record on the season. The Pilots fly down to Orlando Florida this week for the final tournament of their season, in hopes of ending the season with a tournament championship.

The women’s volleyball team entered the tournament as the top seed facing off against the 4th seeded CMU Blazers. Providence and CMU are no strangers when it comes to MCAC playoffs. Providence knocked off the number 1 seeded CMU in 2011, and again in 2012 to win the championship. To say there is animosity between these two teams would be an understatement. Despite the best efforts of the Blazers in what may have been the strongest performance of their season, the Pilots would advance with a 3-1 win (28-26, 22-25, 26-24, 25-17). Coach Scott Masterson had these words to say after the match, "I thought CMU came out and played the best we had seen from them this year and they definitely made each set very difficult for us. I don't think we ever felt comfortable or relaxed during the match and so I didn't think we were ever able to play as freely as we would have liked. That being said, I thought we managed all of this very well and never let the pressure overtake our ability to think clearly and not panic. So I was very pleased with getting through that match and I thought it gave is a lot of confidence heading into the final."

The final matchup was what everyone expected. The College Wesmen and the Pilots have been the top two teams all season with identical records only separated with a tie break. The College Wesmen have had the upper hand against the Pilots in their meetings this semester. The sets were close on Saturday night but The College Wesmen put the pressure on with a two set lead. Providence made a stand in the third set winning convincingly 25-17. This would not be enough to complete the comeback as the Wesmen took the fourth set 25-22, winning 3-1. (25-22, 25-21, 17-25, 25-22) Coach Scott Masterson had these words to say after the match. "I knew we were going to have to play our best match of the year if we wanted to have a chance at beating UW. They have been playing very well since Christmas and had a lot of confidence heading into the match. In the end, we did play our best match of the year and we just have to accept the fact that they were better than us in the important times of each set. The total points for the match were 91-90 for them and I think what that shows is that each set really came down to who could win the last few points. Today, they were able to win those important points. It was a very exciting match to be part of and we, of course would have preferred to have won, but I am very proud of the way we played as well as how we handled ourselves in defeat. I think this match is good for our league as it was, in my opinion, the highest quality of volleyball we have seen from our league to date and I think it shows what direction our league is heading. Hopefully more players will see that their volleyball future can legitimately be fulfilled, or aided, by playing for one of the MCAC teams. This match, in the end, can only help promote our league and help keep more of our MB athletes in MB."

Congratulations to Pilots player, Chelsea Needham who was awarded the MCAC regular season MVP. Lauren Toews, Christa Penner, and Clarice Martens were also awarded MCAC All-Conference Team.

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