The Providence Pilots women's basketball team opened its 2018-19 Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference season with back-to-back victories over the Red River College Rebels last weekend.
Second-year guard Katelin Thiessen scored 14 points and Taylor Goodbrandson, in her fourth year at Providence, added 13 as the Pilots tipped off the campaign with a 60-45 win Friday in front of a home crowd. One day later, Hannah Van Schie's 14 points led the Providence women to a 63-29 victory over the Rebels in Winnipeg. First-year forward Catherine Ross and second-year post, Esther Ruchegeza contributed nine rebounds apiece.
"We were much more like the team I expect us to be moving forward," says Head Coach Joel Coursey, whose squad had previously posted seven losses in exhibition and National Christian College Athletic Association action.
"The tough competition we've been facing for the past month greatly influenced our success this past weekend," says Goodbrandson. "Playing against tough teams has strengthened us to play at a higher level and tempo, which led to two big wins against a team we have tended to fall short against in the past."
The Pilots men's basketball team also faced the Rebels at home and away last weekend, winning 90-80 in Otterburne and losing 72-54 in Winnipeg. DeMar Krauss put up 20 points in the victory while Jordan Lawson scored 19 in the defeat.
"Friday's game was a good example of what the guys are able to do when they play together," says Head Coach Pierre Dubreuil. "Everybody was sharing the ball and searching for a great shot." He says the players may have been overconfident after Friday's win, but that the subsequent loss offered a "good lesson."
In volleyball, the Providence men's side took all six sets it played against Red River College on Friday and Saturday. Matt Friesen had 21 kills in the pair of wins and Adrian Kalyniuk chipped in with 64 assists. Head coach Scott Masterson noticed a buzz within the team after a long stretch off the court, one that turned into a pair of season-opening victories.
"We were all very excited to play again," he says. "I was very pleased with how we played in both matches. The guys came out with a lot of intensity and focus, and we played a pretty good level of volleyball."
Red River's revenge came in the women's' matches, which the Rebels won 3-0 and 3-0. Danella Alvaro led the way for Providence with 14 kills and 16 digs over the weekend, and Kristen Taillon had 9 points, 13 digs and 3 aces.
Following what he described as his team's worst performance of the season on Friday, Head Coach Kyle Guenther was impressed with how the Pilots women bounced back for the rematch, even though they lost once again.
"We were a completely different team on Saturday," he says. "The energy, intensity and focus were all ramped up. We can take a lot more positives from Saturday's match and will look to build off that moving forward."