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2014-09-01

Providence Pilots Return Home from First Competition of the Season

This past weekend, the Men’s and Women’s soccer teams and the Women’s volleyball team were all on the road for pre-season play. The Pilots soccer teams were down in Aberdeen, South Dakota while the Women’s volleyball team was in Ankeny, Iowa.

The Women’s soccer team got their season underway on Friday, taking on Presentation College. It took a few minutes for the Pilots to get their legs going and nearly found themselves down two goals in the first five minutes if it weren’t for an unbelievable save by Brandon product Kate Osadchuk in net and a ball off the goal post. That seemed to wake up the visiting squad as they turned the ball up field and Julika Kehler of Steinbach, MB was able to score on a free kick in the sixth minute. Presentation pressed hard for the next 70 minutes and forced the Pilots to change their formations and tactics. Firing 26 shots, the Saints from Presentation were never able to find the back of the net. Julika again found the back of the net after a deke around the defender and a beautiful pass from Robyn Coffey. Providence held off the Saints in the final minutes and won their season opener 2-0.

Their first game certainly gave the Women from Providence confidence heading into action against York College on Saturday. The Pilots came out with a lot of energy and passed the ball beautifully right from the start. In the seventh minute, Julika Kehler took a dazzling through ball from Jessica Gzebb and Julika dribbled around the keeper to put her team up by and early goal. The half progressed in similar fashion with the Pilots applying all the pressure. Julika continued her hot start by popping in her second of the game with a long diagonal pass coming from Robyn Coffey. With five minutes left in the half, Julika hit Navereen Sidhu who netted a beauty to the top right corner. The second half saw York College try to get back in the game but another stellar performance from Kate Osadchuk in net stopped that from happening. With great goal tending and smart defense, the Pilots kept York at bay for the second half. Late in the second half, Julika connected with Navereen again as she headed in her second of the game. The game ended with the Pilots shutting out York 4-0.

"There was a combination of first game jitters and a lack of energy to start our first game. I love the way we responded to adjustments and it was a good sign from a young team," Head Coach Giancarlo Calla commented after the weekend. "The second game I was much more pleased with as we came out with a lot more energy and put a better effort on the field. These were two very tough NAIA teams and we found a way to win. I am proud of our progress over just two games and with more time we could have a great showing in our NCCAA region this year."

On Friday, the Men took the field in their season opener against the host school Presentation. Presentation started brightly and the Providence defense was busy in the early play. The game swung in the Pilots’ favor in the Sixteenth minute as Steinbach’s Mitchell Martens cut in from the left and his low shot skipped under the Saints keeper’s dive. In the Twenty-Sixth minute, a cross from the right wing caused havoc in front of the Presentation goal and Martens reacted quickly at the far post to score and give the Pilots a 2-0 lead. Presentation applied intense pressure for the rest of the half and it took a dramatic saving tackle from Josh Goertzen of Niverville, MB to preserve the lead. The second half saw both teams having periods of attacking pressure but the defenses held strong and the Pilots finished the game with the 2-0 win.

In their second game of the weekend, the Men from Providence found themselves against a strong York College team. In the first minutes, York had the Pilots pinned in their own half for long periods. Patient defensive work by the Pilot’s paid off and eventually gaps started to appear in the Panther’s back line. Peter Garracht had several breakaway attempts only to find the York keeper in fine form. Garracht’s persistence paid off in the 30th minute as he again burst through, drew the keeper out and squared the ball to Avery Ansah to slot home his first goal. In the 70th minute Garracht again assisted as his crossfield run fed Mitchell Martens who unleashed a rocket shot into the top right corner to make it 2-0. The game was not done as York scored with 7 minutes remaining but the Pilots held firm as time wound down to win 2-1.

Head Coach Martin Ward stated after the weekend, "I was very happy with the effort and team work we displayed this weekend. To get two results on the road against teams who are both skilled and well organized showed the character of our team already and we have a solid foundation to build on for the rest of this season."

The Women’s Volleyball team was in Ankeny, Iowa where they were taking part in the annual Spikefest pre-season tournament. The first day saw the Pilots take on Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College from Oklahoma City and the host team, Faith Baptist College. In their first match, Providence came out looking like it was just that, their first match. Hillsdale took advantage of the errors on the Pilots side and took the first set. It didn’t take long for the momentum to change as Providence found their game early in the second set. The Pilots took the next three sets to win 17-25, 25-12, 25-22, 25-22.

Providence was in tough in their next match as they took on not only the scrappy Faith team but also their boisterous crowd in attendance. The home town Eagles would grab the first set and give the crowd extra incentive to make as much noise as possible. The Pilots fought back in the second and squeaked out the set to tie the match at a set a piece. The Eagles stepped up their defense which frustrated the hitters from Providence. Faith snuck by Providence in the third and fourth sets to take the match three sets to one (18-25, 25-23, 22-25, 22-25).

The second day had the Pilots up against Manhattan Christian College who is ranked second overall in the NCCAA preseason rankings. The first set was as competitive as it could have been. A late rally from the Pilots had them within three points of taking the set. The experience of Manhattan came through at the end however as they narrowly escaped being down a set to the Pilots. Manhattan took the momentum into the second set and rolled to a two set lead. Another strong set from Providence made for an entertaining game but in the end fell just short to the steady offense of the Crusaders. 22-25, 17-25, 21-25 was the final score.

The Pilots finished their weekend in the fifth place game against the AIB Eagles. This match went four sets with the Eagles getting past the Pilots with a steady offense and some great defensive plays. The final score was 13-25, 25-17, 11-25, 19-25.

"All in all, it was a successful weekend. We went into this tournament having only been together as a team for three days. We were able to see everyone on the court and find out where we matched up against some great teams. We made lots of errors on our side of the net which put us in some tough spots early in matches. With time and practice, this will get a lot better. There were a lot of positives from this weekend and I am very encouraged going forward," Kyle Guenther, Assistant Coach, said after the tournament.

 


 

 
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