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Pilots 2017-18 Season Preview

Monday, February 5, 2018

At the heart of athletics at Providence is a commitment to nurture the young women and men who compete as part of Pilots teams. Last season was the first in 25 years in which those teams didn’t celebrate a National, Regional or Provincial Championship, but the campaign was a success nonetheless.

“Our goal is to glorify God with how we live daily while continuing to foster a Christ-centred culture that impacts the communities we’re a part of,” explains Scott Masterson, head coach of the men’s volleyball program and Director of Athletics at Providence. “We have great groups of players that our coaching staffs are excited to invest in.”

Naturally, all six Pilots teams also want, even expect, to win trophies, and with the 2017-18 season having commenced with a pair of soccer alumni matches on Sunday, the Providence community can look forward to supporting competitive squads over the coming months.

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Providence Athletics

  • Teams: Basketball, Soccer/Futsal, Volleyball
  • Leagues: Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC), National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), Association of Christian College Athletics (ACCA), Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NIAC)
  • New League: Both basketball teams will be rejoining the NIAC after an eight-year absence
  • Trophy Cabinet: 5 NCCAA National Championships, 19 NCCAA Regional Championships, 16 MCAC Championships
  • Broadcasts: Many Pilots home games are streamed live on the Internet.

Women's Basketball

  • Last Season: MCAC semi-finalists, ACCA semi-finalists
  • Key Returnee: Alison Zajac averaged 8.3 games last season and averaged 1.5 steals per game.
  • New Player Profile: Kiera Foster is accustomed to success, having won Provincial Championships at Sisler High School (Winnipeg) with both the junior varsity and AAAA teams.
  • First Home Game: November 10, 2017 vs. Oak Hill Christian College (MN)

“This is expected to be a big year for us. Our new schedule puts us on the road a lot this year, but ultimately that should bring us closer together as a team." - Joel Coursey, Women's BB Head Coach

Men's Basketball

  • Last Season: MCAC semi-finalists, ACCA consolation round semi-finalists
  • Key Returnee: Chris Dick was named Most Improved Player at the Pilots Awards Banquet in March.
  • New Player Profile: At 6’4” Alex Doyon can play both guard and forward and, according to his former coach with the Sanford Collegiate Sabres, is a “natural” leader.
  • First Home Game: November 10, 2017 vs. Oak Hills Christian College (MN)

“This season's team is looking forward to playing a fast-paced, high-scoring and entertaining brand of hoops. Led by head coach Tim Friesen, we're also looking forward to mentoring this group of young men in faith and life." - RJ Mackenzie, Men's BB Assistant Coach

Women's Soccer/Futsal

  • Last Season: Soccer MCAC semi-finalists, Soccer NCCAA Regional Finalists, Futsal MCAC semi-finalists
  • Key Returnee: Julika Kehler scored 17 goals on the soccer pitch in 2016 and was named MCAC Futsal’s co-MVP for 2017.
  • New Player Profile: Selina Steiger is an explosive midfielder with a great first touch and has previously played for Winkler’s Northlands Parkway Collegiate the Winnipeg SC Hurricanes club side.
  • First Home Game: September 16, 2017 vs. Red River College

“We have added some very good young players who will help push us to the next level. Right from the start of training camp we will need to get ready as our team will have games every week until the NCCAA Regional Championship and, hopefully, the NCCAA National Championship.” - Tory Walker, Women's Soccer Head Coach

Men’s Soccer/Futsal

  • Last Season: Soccer MCAC semi-finalists, Soccer NCCAA Regional quarterfinalists, Futsal MCAC finalists
  • Key Returnee: Braeden Owen was the Providence Pilots Male Rookie of the Year last season and was named to the MCAC All-Conference Futsal Team.
  • New Player Profile: Jorge Alva Vilchis likes to control the rhythm of a match and has played competitive soccer in both Mexico and Spain.
  • First Home Game: September 16, 2017 vs. Red River College

“Our goal is to continue establishing a strong culture—a culture that is invested in impacting the community and glorifying God through our actions on and off the field. We are putting expectations on ourselves to challenge in both MCAC and at the NCCAA National Championship.” - Joey Passi, Men's Soccer Head Coach

Women’s Volleyball

  • Last Season: MCAC finalists, NCCAA Regional finalists, NCCAA National finalists
  • Key Returnee: Shayna Staerk is entering her forth and final year at Providence and led the Pilots with 406 kills last season.
  • New Player Profile: LaDawn Friesen is a former Linden Christian School Wings captain and two-time AAA High School MVP
  • First Home Game: October 27, 2017 vs. Canadian Mennonite University

“After two straight NCCAA National Championship final appearances our goal is to get back there again and hopefully have a better result this year. One of the highlights of our schedule is a pre-season tournament in Red Deer, AB, where we will play some of the best teams in Canada.” - Kyle Guenther, Women's VB Head Coach

Men’s Volleyball

  • Last Season: MCAC semi-finalists
  • Key Returnee: Lucas Pappel won the Providence Men's Volleyball Leadership Award last season and was an important contributor in the Pilots' MCAC-winning team in 2015-16.
  • New Player Profile: Jacob Brown is a 6’3” right side from nearby St-Piere-Jolys who brings a heavy arm and experience as a Providence Junior Pilot.
  • First Home Game: October 27, 2017 vs. Canadian Mennonite University

“We have a great mix of returning and new players and are hoping to improve our results from last year. Our pre-season schedule is very strong and will do a great job of preparing us for the season.” - Scott Masterson, Men's VB Head Coach

Author - Providence