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Region Champions Across the Board!

The stage was set for a day full of celebrations for the Providence Athletics Program. This past Tuesday, the Men’s and Women’s soccer teams were in Minneapolis, MN for their Regional Championship while the Women’s volleyball team traveled to Ankeny, IA to compete in their Regional Championship.

The Men’s team from Providence finished 3rd in the region and faced off against the 2nd seed, Faith Baptist Bible College in the semi-final on Tuesday. The Pilots were fired up for this game and attacked strongly from the start. Faith were dangerous on the counter and Liam Hodges made two spectacular breakaway saves to deny Faith the early lead. However, the Eagles did score from close range off a header to take hold a 1-0 lead.  5 minutes later, Avery Ansah flicked a pass to Peter Garrecht and he shot into the corner as the keeper came out to challenge. The tie was broken 10 minutes into the second half when Mitchell Martens was taken down in the box and was awarded a Penalty Kick. Captain Jon Janke took the shot and calmly buried the PK into the corner to give the Pilots a 2-1. This score held up and sent Providence into the Regional Final where they would take on the North Central University Rams.

The Pilots Women’s soccer team secured the first seed and received the bye to the final in the Regional Championship. Providence took on North Central in the final on Wednesday afternoon. Fresh off their MCAC Championship victory, the Pilots carried the momentum and brought even more intensity to this final. Three goals in the first 17 minutes gave the Pilots a commanding lead. Jess Caul continued her dominant play as of late with two of first half goals while Navreen Sidhu added the third. Julika Kehler, who set up all three goals in the first half, got in on the scoring as well as she netted two beautiful goals in the second half to give the Pilots a 5-0 win and the North Central Division Championship.

“I was very proud of our effort and consistent energy,” Coach Giancarlo Calla said of his teams play. “I don’t think we have played that well and fluid all season. Winning our Region is always very special to me, but it is even more special to do it in that fashion. I feel we are starting to hit our strike and this is the perfect time to do so.”

Four players from Providence earned a spot of the All-Region team that was announced at the final. Julika Kehler, Robyn Coffey, and Kate Osadchuk earned spots on the team with Jessica Gzebb taking home the All-Region MVP award.

The Men’s final followed with Providence taking on the first seeded NCU Rams. Once again the Pilots came out strong but had some trouble finding a way past the Rams strong defense. The game played out this way until the 18th minute where Mitchell Martens crossed a ball that found Eric Harvey alone in front where he put his team up 1-0. Martens and Harvey set up a nice play again, this time setting up Devotion Ndlovu who netted a shot to go up 2-0 just before half. The Pilots sealed the game with another goal from Eric Harvey who deked around the Rams defense and tucked a ball inside the far post. This win secured the North Central Region and a trip back to Florida for the NCCAA National Championship.

“The stats don’t show what a total team effort we had this weekend. We knew we would have to be at our best to win the region this year, and everyone worked tirelessly and was very focused and the results reflected that,” Coach Martin Ward commented after the win. “I think we are getting better every game and we don’t want the season to end yet, so we are really happy to be going to represent our region in Florida.”

The Men’s team from Providence sent four players to the All-Region team just like the Women’s team did. Jon Janke, Dale Danso, Eric Plett and Mitchell Martens were honored with the award at the Championship game.

The final team to contend for a spot at Nationals was the Women’s volleyball team. In the semi-final, as the top seed, the Pilots took on the fourth ranked Trinity Bible College. The match was controlled by Providence from start to finish. In three quick sets, Providence earned their way into the Championship match against the second seeded Faith Baptist Bible College Eagles.

The Pilots and Eagles have split the two meetings they played this year which set the stage for an interesting match. It was the Pilots who gained the momentum in the beginning taking the first set 25-21. The momentum quickly shifted as the Eagles hurried out to a 7-1 lead in the second set. After a time-out, the Pilots came right back and tied the game at 10-10. After that, it was a run away. The top ranked team finished the set on a 15-6 run to take it 25-16. The third set continued how the second finished, dominant. The Pilots took the set 25-13 which earned them a three sets to none victory, the North Central Region Championship and a trip to the NCCAA Nationals in Florida.

“Our team was on fire this week. I was very impressed to see how we responded in the big moments and how our younger players stepped up to the challenge,” Assistant Coach Kyle Guenther after their wins. “Faith has given us trouble in the past 4 years but this is the best we have played them. We read them so well and countered their scrappy play with a very well executed, structured performance. I am very excited to see how we match up against the best teams in the nation in Florida.”

Senior Lauren Toews captured the All-Region MVP award with freshmen Sam Bridle, Kennedy Koop, and Shayna Staerk joining her on the All-Region team.

The three teams will be heading to Kissimmee, Florida where they will compete at the NCCAA National Championships on November 12-15.

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