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The men’s and women’s soccer teams from Providence University College played in the MCAC Championships this past weekend. Both teams finished first overall after the regular season. For the men, this meant playing in the first semi-final on Saturday against #4 ranked Red River. The women got a bye to the final as they would face the winner of the 2nd VS. 3rd game.
On Saturday, the men faced off against Red River on a very cool, windy day. It was a tight contest in the early goings. Mario Giesbrecht, from Loma Plata, Paraguay, got Providence on the board to take an early 1-0 lead but a defensive miscue got Red River even and they went into half knotted at 1 goal apiece. Mario was just getting started however. He scored 2 more goals shortly after half time to give him a hat-trick on the day. Norvin Campos put the game out of reach when he converted on a penalty kick in the late minutes. With the win, Providence booked a spot in Sunday’s final against St. Boniface University.
The women’s championship final was first on the schedule for Sunday. Providence was up against a Red River squad who they had beaten in all three meetings this year but knew they were in tough against the home team. Providence grabbed a quick 1-0 lead in the seventh minute from a hard strike by the tournament MVP and Brandon Manitoba native, Kate Osadchuk. Good defense from Red River kept the came close for the rest of the half. The defensive effort paid off early in the second half as they were able to tie the game up on a scramble in front of the Providence net. It took until the 77th minute where the Red River goalie misplayed a ball close to her goal line and speedy forward, Brianna Plett, took advantage. Plett stole the ball and netted Providence’s second goal. This goal proved to be the winner and for the first time since 2009, the women’s soccer team from Providence are the MCAC champions. Coach Giancarlo Calla comments after the game that his team wasn’t at it’s best during the final but found a way to win. “It wasn’t how we drew it up but the feeling is the same. We are champions and no one can take that from us!”
The men’s final was between Providence and Les Rouges from St. Boniface University. St. Boniface handed Providence their only loss of the season, the top-seeded team knew 90 minutes of effort were needed if they were going to take home MCAC’s top prize. With the best defensive effort of the season and an amazing display of passing, Providence was able to stay disciplined and play their game. Mario Giesbrecht had another huge game in Sunday’s Championship. The Providence forward scored his team’s first goal, and his fourth personal goal of the weekend, on a beautiful free kick from outside the box in just the fifth minute, setting the tone for the rest of the game. After the game, Giesbrecht was named tournament MVP. Providence also got another stunning goal from Arvid Neufeld in the 28th, as he was able to sail one over the keeper and put his team up 2-0. In the second half, the Freemen added goals from Martial Galay and conference leading goal scorer Norvin Campos to put icing on the cake. Also for the first time since 2009, the men’s team from Providence are crowned champions of the MCAC. “I thought we defended really well! We played a very disciplined game which I was very proud to see,” Coach Martin Ward explains after the game. “To execute our game and get four great goals like we did, it is tough to beat our squad.”
Norvin Campos and Brianna Plett of Providence were named league MVP’s for the season shortly after the championships.
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