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Providence University College had both Mens and Womens soccer teams, as well as the Womens Volleyball team, down to Kissimmee, Florida this past week after they qualified for the NCCAA National tournament.
The Men's soccer team kicked off the tournament on Wednesday as the #3 seed playing against #6 Ohio Christian College. Ohio came in as a team who was much better than their ranking suggested. The teams were evenly matched as they finished regulation time tied at 0-0. Overtime solved nothing, resulting in the game leading to Penalty Kicks. After both teams scored on their first 2 attempts, Providence missed on the following 2 handing Ohio the upset. With the loss, Providence could not finish higher than 5th in the tournament. In order to get to the 5th place game, they had to get passed Toccoa Falls College who came in as the 7th seed. Providence had another tight battle on their hands with the teams knotted a 0-0 heading into the final minutes of the game. Norvin Campos led Providence in goal scoring for the season and would not be denied on the biggest stage. In the 84th minute, Norvin put in his first of the tournament and led his team to the victory. The win put Providence into the 5th place game. The lone Canadian team was up against the 5th seed Ozark Christian College in their final contest. Even though they weren't playing in the Championship final, the guys were still able to get themselves pumped up for the final game. Norvin continued to show his scoring touch as he netted 2 goals while Martial Galay added a goal and an assist as Providence took the game 3-1.
The Womens soccer team from Providence entered the tournament as the 6th seed out of 6 teams. It would be a tough path to the championship final for these girls as they needed to get past the 2nd and 3rd seeded teams. First up was the 2nd seeded Kentucky Christian University. Providence played a tough defensive game which made it hard for Kentucky to score all game. The game had no score with time winding down in the second half. With 9 minutes left, Brianna Plett broke out with unmatched speed and found herself on a breakaway. A quick fake to her left got the goalie off guard and she snuck the ball on the right side of the goal. The team, coaches, and fans went crazy.. Providence went back to defense mode for the last few minutes and was able to hold off Kentucky for the major upset. The only thing standing in their way of the championship game was the 3rd seed and defending champion Baptist Bible College. After such an emotionally and physically draining game, it was tough for Providence to play at their highest level. Baptist kept them on their heels all game but Providence was able to fend them off for the majority of it. In another low scoring affair, both teams knew 1 goal would most likely be enough. Unfortunately for Providence, they gave up that 1 goal lead and that proved to be the decider. With the loss, Providence would now play in the 3rd place game against North Central University. Once again, it was a game of defenses and strong showings from both goalies. Melanie Warkentin, playing in her final game after an amazing 4 year career, had a chance to put Providence on the board on a penalty kick. As she has done so often over the years, Mel nailed the PK and put her team on top. After fending off a strong attack from NCU, the game ended 1-0 and Providence held the 3rd place trophy with pride. Coming in as the 6th seed, Providence proved they definitely belong with the top teams in the nation. Coach Giancarlo Calla commented after the tournament, "I thought overall this was a great experience for our program. I thought for the most part we played with a lot of heart and pride and represented our school well. Anytime you finish third on the national stage, you have to be proud and then when you realize you were only one or two mental mistakes away from playing for a national championship, it's exciting. I really believe, as a womens program, we are very close to the top. Preparations for 2013 have already begun. It just can't get here soon enough."
The Women’s volleyball tournament was set up in 2 pools and the top two teams in each pool advance to the final 4. Providence entered the tournament as the 8th seed out of 10 teams. The first day of competition had Providence face 4th seeded Kentucky Christian University and 9th seeded Ozark Christian College. Providence would most likely have to go 2 and 0 on the day to give themselves a chance at finishing top 2 in their pool. In the first game, Kentucky put up a strong block and a balanced offense that was just too much for Providence on that day. In three close sets, Kentucky won 25-18, 25-18, 25-19. In the second match of the day against Ozark, Providence got their first win of the tournament. It was another three set contest with the Canadian team taking it 25-14, 27-25, 25-14. Going 1-1 for the day, this meant Providence had to beat the #1 seed and 6 time defending champions Clearwater Christian College the next morning as well as upset the #5 ranked Manhattan Christian College to advance to the top 4. Providence played the best match of the tournament against Clearwater. The score line doesn't indicate how close the match really was and had the 3rd set gone a little differently at the end, it may have been a completely different match. Clearwater ended up winning 25-11, 25-16, 25-18. Taking the confidence of how they played in their morning match, Providence went into the match against Manhattan looking determined for the upset. Great passing, tough serving, and a balanced attack had the 8th seed pull of the only upset in the entire tournament. Providence won the match in 4 sets 23-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-23. Despite not reaching the final 4, they did leave as the 5th best team in the tournament and also had a few players finish with some dominant numbers. Senior Heidi Martens left her mark on the tournament leading all hitters in attack percentage at 45%. Libero Katelyn Corbin finished second in digs for the tournament with 70 through 4 matches. Christa Penner, the setter in her 3rd year, ended up third overall in assists with 125 in 4 matches.
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