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Pilots Make History on Thanksgiving Weekend

For the Thanksgiving weekend the Providence soccer teams went on the road to Wisconsin and Michigan.

First up for the men’s team was a game against NCCAA Division II powerhouse Northland International University who had been national championship finalists for the last two years. The Pioneers are known for their fast attacking play and had the Pilots on the back foot in the early stages of the game. The first goal came in the 6th minute as the Pioneers capitalized on a defensive error to score from close range. As the game progressed however the Pilots found their rhythm and the game turned into an end-to-end contest with both teams having scoring chances. In the 60th minute the Pilots were awarded a free kick and Troy Lydiate struck a beautiful shot over the defensive wall and into the corner of the goal to even the score. Two minutes later the unthinkable happened for the home fans as Arvid Neufeld raced free to score the go ahead goal for the Pilots. In the 70th minute Providence scored a third when an inch perfect cross field pass from Martial Galay set up Mitchell Martens to go around the ‘keeper and put it home. A strong defensive effort by Liam Hodges and the Pilots defense kept the score at 3-1 and secured the come from behind victory.

Providence had never beaten Northland in several meetings in regular play as well as at the National Championships.
While the men were playing in Wisconsin, the women’s team traveled to beautiful Hancock, Michigan to play Finlandia University. The game got away from Finlandia very quickly as the visitors took a 3 nothing lead after just 7 minutes of play. Kate Osadchuk of Brandon, MB started the scoring and added 2 more to go along with her 3 assists. Julika Kehler from Steinbach, MB also had a big game scoring 3 goals and tallying 4 assists. Elena Rempel stole the show in this one however notching 4 goals and 1 assist. The Niverville product had 1 goal on the season going into this game but quickly asserted herself as a potent offensive option in this contest. Brittany Heaman and Jessica Gzebb added a goal each to make the final 12-0. The Pilots ended up outshooting Finlandia 51-1 in this lopsided victory.

Sunday’s games saw the women’s team back in picturesque Hancock, MI to face NCAA III Finlandia University and this time the men also traveled with them.

Unfortunately the soccer wasn’t as pretty as the surroundings as aggressive play and questionable refereeing produced more yellow and red cards than goals. The Pilots did continue their win streak with goals from brothers Arvid and Adrian Neufeld, assisted by Troy Lydiate and Mitchell Martens, sandwiching a lone Finlandia goal to send the Pilots home with a 2-1 victory.

In the second game, the women faced off against Northland College at Finlandia University. Northland gave the Pilots a much bigger challenge than they had the previous day. An early gift by Providence handed a 1-0 lead to the LumberJills. Julika Kehler continued her outstanding weekend with an unassisted goal on a fast break. 5 minutes later, Northland would answer back and give the home team a lead they would not surrender. In the second half, the Pilots owned possession for most of the half but could not get past the defensive formation being played against them. Despite outshooting their opposition 10-2 in the second half, Providence could not find the back of the net and would fall 2-1 to Northland.

“Overall it was a positive experience. We learn more about ourselves from a close loss in which we feel we should have won, rather than a 12-0 win. It was a good character building experience. We will be better for it,” Coach Giancarlo Calla.

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