This fall at Providence brought about another first for the Sea Beggars with men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball intercollegiate play as members of the NAIA. To the backdrop of a sea of blue and orange and the cheers of the student body, the new teams were able to make big strides in skill level and team cohesion, completing their first season as trailblazers for the institution.

This week, women’s soccer ended on a high note, as they tied nationally ranked Arizona Christian in their last match of the season. Head Coach Sam Mahtani noted that the team” really improved over the course of the season and peaked at the right time. Our biggest goals are to outwork the other team and learn to play a certain style and we have definitely achieved those goals in our first season.”

Men’s soccer has one remaining game for the season on Saturday. After a tough start to the season this fall, Coach Mahtani states that “the team came together mid-season and have worked really hard and improved each game”. While watching the final men’s soccer home game yesterday, President Jim Belcher commented “It’s still astounding to me that I’m watching this team play in NAIA competition this fall, when at this time last year we didn’t even have a soccer coach hired. It’s a testament to a lot of hard work in a very short period of time. As the solid core of this team returns next year we are expecting a great future for Sea Beggar soccer.”

Freshman volleyball player Esther Duru (Lynwood, CA) leads the CalPac Conference in kill percentage with a .247. She has blown away the conference completion with 49 solo blocks and is ranked 5th nationally. Teammate, junior Heather Greipsma (Riverside, CA) is third in the conference in that category with 25.

Head Volleyball Coach Chris Chown says of his first season, “This team has been very resilient and flexible. We are a young group and I am proud of how we have dealt with the challenges of our first season. I think we are finishing the season strongly and are building momentum as we go into our offseason and prepare to bring our squad back with a wealth of experience.”

Sea Beggar Cycling was another new sport this season and was put on the map at the Cal Poly MTB race this past Saturday. In only his second race of the season, sophomore Gerrid Knol (Lethbridge, AB, Canada) domiCyclingnated the Dual Slalom Men’s C category. After qualifying, Gerrid personally eliminated three other riders and managed to secure second place.

Providence Cross Country, now in it’s 7th season of competition, completed 5 races this year with the majority of runners achieving personal bests throughout the season. New Head Coach Paul Cook joined halfway through the season, as the team welcomed his wealth of experience and activity as a professional distance runner. Cook is a lifelong educator, coach, musician, and professional athlete and he has served as Executive Director of Southern California USA Track and Field . He spends time every year traveling to many under-developed 3rd world countries as a volunteer working to improve their athletic and educational programs. He has the 20 kilometer world and American record for master’s runners.

As fall sports wrap up this week, the Sea Beggars look forward to the opportunity this spring to cheer on Sea Beggar baseball. Practice is in full swing and the home opener is scheduled for Friday, January 22.

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