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Pilots season off to a flyer
The Providence Pilots soccer teams kicked off their 2016-17 seasons at home to the Canadian Mennonite University Blazers, Saturday, while the women’s volleyball squad picked up where it left off last term with a dominant showing in Minneapolis.
First-year attacker Madison Will scored for Providence on her 18th birthday as the Pilots women’s soccer side beat CMU 4-2 in Otterburne. Julika Kehler also tallied against the Blazers, and Courtney Engel—last season’s team MVP and National Christian College Athletic Conference (NCCAA) All-Region member, as well as Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) All-Conference honouree in basketball—led the way with two goals.
“I was really pleased with how the women showed resiliency throughout the game,” remarked head coach Tory Walker, citing the Blazers’ two leads over the 90 minutes. “Once we settled into the game the teamwork and toughness of our team showed. I’m proud of how we worked and came together.”
The men, meanwhile, were reduced to 10 players late on, and CMU took advantage of their numerical superiority to notch the winner.
After a disappointing first half the Pilots regrouped after the restart, and Belbwa “Bilbo” Francois scored for the hosts in the 2-1 defeat.
“Despite two penalties against—the first stopped admirably by Darcy Friesen—we stayed in the game and I thought we played the better second half,” reflected head coach Joey Passi. “Hats off to CMU for finding a way where we didn’t.”
In volleyball, Kyle Guenther made his coaching debut as the Pilots women opened their NCCAA campaign with four victories in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They didn’t drop a single set until their final match of the weekend, and with seven players returning from the team that won the MCAC championship and finished runners-up at the NCCAA national tournament, they looked every bit a team that can compete for silverware again in 2016-17.
Second-year left side Danella Alvaro executed 41 kills and 23 digs over the four outings, and third-year setter Sam Bridle contributed 135 assists in the wins over Trinity Bible College, Grinnell College, Faith Baptist Bible College and North Central University.
“I am very happy with how we started the year. This weekend was about finding our identity as a team,” said Guenther. “We showed poise and determination in each match, and that’s something we will look to build off as we get into our season.”
Both the men’s and women’s volleyball teams will shortly travel to Camrose, Alberta for showdowns with the University of Augustana on September 16 and 17.
The soccer teams will also be in action this weekend, with the Assiniboine Community College Cougars and Les Rouges de l’Universite de Saint-Boniface making the trek to Otterburne.


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