Monday, February 5, 2018
The Providence Pilots opened the 2017-18 season with competitive matches in soccer and volleyball last weekend and prevailed in six of eight contests. In soccer, the women’s and men’s teams split their results in Brandon while the women’s volleyball squad fared well at the North Central Tournament in Minneapolis, MN.
Coming off second-place finishes at the National Christian College Athletic Association’s regional and national volleyball tournaments the Pilots women began their campaign on Friday with a straight-sets victory over Ankeny, Iowa’s Faith Baptist Bible College. After edging hosts North Central University in five they then beat Crown College of St. Bonifacious, MB in three sets on Saturday before succumbing 3-1 to Iowa’s Grinnell College.
Third-year left side Danelle Alvaro led the way for Providence with 32 kills and 39 digs while fourth-year left side Shayna Staerk added 31 kills and 8 aces.
“It was great to get our season started and see this new group together,” remarked head coach Kyle Guenther, adding that he observed positive relationships forming on the court. “I feel we had some really good moments to start the year and it was also nice to take a lot away from the weekend that we can work on. It’s nice to get battle-tested right away.”
Back in Manitoba, a Pilots women’s soccer team without its top two strikers lost 2-0 to the Brandon University Bobcats, although head coach Tory Walker saw plenty of positives on Sunday.
“We had some moments where we played a great type of soccer, and if we can get healthy and remain healthy I believe the results will come,” he said. “As a coach I was really happy to see the maturity of the five first-year players who started and two more who came off the bench. We’re only going to get better and I’m excited for what I saw.”
The men, meanwhile, out-shot the Bobcats 28-7 and prevailed 1-0 thanks to Hunter Robinson’s finish from an inch-perfect Jorge Vilchis cross. First-year goalkeeper Evan Bedard earned the clean sheet.
“It was a great first game,” said head coach Joey Passi. “We have a lot of new guys and they performed well in their first game as Pilots. We could have scored a couple more goals but staying strong defensively did the job for us.”
Next up for both soccer teams is a home series with the Red River College Rebels and Canadian Mennonite University Blazers on Saturday and Sunday. The women’s volleyball team won’t be in action again until matches against CMU and Les Rouges de l’Universite de Saint-Boniface on September 27 and 28, although the men’s side will play a pre-season tournament in Saskatchewan and Alberta September 21-13.