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Lloyd Hildebrand named Week 13 Athlete of the Week

Consistency has been key for the six-time defending MCAC Champion Red River Rebels basketball team, and with yet another perfect start to the MCAC season, this year is no exception.

For a program to win the top prize six years running, solid recruiting needs to be aligned with a veteran presence, and that veteran presence is exactly what they have in third-year centre Lloyd Hildebrand.

In their Week 13 wins, Hildebrand was a huge inside presence for Red River, recording 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals in a blowout win against CMU, and then a solid 18 points in their four point victory against the second-place Providence Pilots.

These stats are to be expected with Hildebrand at this point, who leads the league in steals, ranks third in points and field goals, and is also top ten in offensive rebounds, blocks, and productivity.

Head coach Sukhvir Singh describes Hildebrand as a “menace” on both sides of the floor, which is a pretty accurate description as his energy and ability to get involved in some way in every play.

Despite their 7-0 start, the Rebels will still have their hands full for the rest of the season, as the conference is experiencing more parity than it has in years. The road to a potential seventh straight title looks harder than ever, but with players like Lloyd Hildebrand leading the charge, every team in the league is going to have a hard time dealing with the Red River Rebels.

Zeralynn Panesa named Week 13 Athlete of the Week

After three straight seasons as MCAC Champions, the Red River College women’s basketball team just keeps rolling. Despite the competition level in the increasing significantly, we once again see the Rebels at the top of the standings as the 2014 portion of the season comes to a close. To be that consistently good for so many years running, recruiting has to be a big part of it – and the Rebels have certainly hit the mark in recruiting Zaralynn Penesa.

The Rebels were in tough in Week 13, with two very close games against Providence and CMU. But when it was all said and done, they came out of it 2-0, and a lot of credit can go to Penesa for putting them over the hump.

Against CMU, Penesa played a great two-way game, finishing off with nine points, and an impressive five steals. In the Providence game, the first-year guard really came alive with a game-high 17 points, to go along with three assists and three steals.

Penesa has played this way all season, something that has certainly impressed head coach Jaenas Pangilinan.

“She always finds a way!” says Pangilinan. “She does everything you want from a point guard. She’s tough on the ball defensively, she can hit the three, gets to the lane almost anytime she wants, and always understands what we’re trying to do.”

This complete game Pangilinan talks about is not only noticeable on the court, but shows up on the boxscore as well. Penesa is the league leader in both points, and steals, is eighth in assists, and plays the most minutes of anyone in the league.

Minutes played isn’t always the stat people point to when speaking on success, but when it comes to Panesa’s game, Pangilinan uses it to make a great point.

“To play almost the entire game as the point guard without fatigue and rarely turning the ball over is asking a lot out of any athlete at this level - but somehow she finds a way."

Rigueson Desorvil named Week 12 Athlete of the Week

In the 2014-2015 MCAC men’s basketball season, it’s tough not to take the Providence Pilots seriously. With a pool of talent stronger than any team they’ve put on the floor in recent memory, there’s a lot to be excited about on this team. However, after their impressive comeback win against CMU in Week 12, it was hard not to talk about Rigueson Desorvil.

At the half, the Pilots were down 17, and Providence had quite the mountain to climb to get back into the game. That’s when Desorvil took over. With some clutch threes, key steals, and some incredible dunks to keep the momentum on the Pilots side, Providence ended up winning the game 90-78. Take a glance at the box score and you’ll see Desorvil all over it, with 35 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block.

Believe it or not, those are the types of stat lines the Pilots have come to expect from the first-year Desorvil. Not only is he leading the league in scoring, but nobody is even within seven points per game of his 22.3 average. He also leads the league in assists, and is top ten in blocks, steals, defensive rebounds, and field goal percentage.

“Rig has been a great addition to our program this year,” says head coach Colten Gryba. “He has a natural scoring touch and has a great ability to read the defense to score points. Even though he leads us in scoring, he’s a very unselfish player and is always looking to get other guys going.”

Desorvil’s all-round game is a treat to watch, and the fact that he’s leading the league in scoring and assists speaks volumes to his team-first mentality on the court.

After dropping a game this week to the College Wesmen, the Pilots will be at home on Saturday trying to defeat the only team they haven’t beaten yet this year in the Red River Rebels. A victory may be a tall order, but with a player like Rigueson Desorvil, you’d be hard-pressed to find a game that’s out of reach.

LaRae Penner named Week 12 Athlete of the Week

In a league where team’s stocks tend to rise and fall year-to-year, the last five seasons have shown you can always count on a strong women’s volleyball team out of Providence University College. Starting the season with a perfect 6-0 record, this year is clearly no exception, and it’s through recruiting players like LaRae Penner where you can see how this reoccurring success is a possibility. 

Penner, a first-year right side out of Steinbach, was dominant in Providence’s straight-set victory against CMU in Week 12. She was all over the stat sheet with 16 kills, 5 digs, 7 blocks, and 3 aces in just three sets to go along with a 75% kill efficiency.

As Penner continues to show off her well-rounded ability on the court, the Pilots have been looking to the freshmen for production more and more as the season goes on. So far, head coach Scott Masterson likes what he sees.

“LaRae’s play as of late has been of the highest quality,” says Masterson. “She’s an incredibly effective attacker and has a natural understanding of what it takes to score in a multitude of situations. She reads the game very well defensively and has great ball control, which makes everyone around her better as well.”

After a tough defeat in last year’s MCAC finals, the Pilots look more focused than ever in becoming the champs once again. With a solid mix of new faces and seasoned veterans, the Pilots certainly have given themselves an opportunity to do so. And if Penner’s play as of late is any indication of the team’s potential, the Pilots have a lot to look forward to.

Adam Bergen named Week 11 Athlete of the Week

It was last February when Canadian Mennonite University knocked off the top-seeded College Wesmen to earn a spot into the MCAC Men’s Basketball Finals. Although they were unable to act out that result in their first meeting earlier this season, third-year forward Adam Bergen and his Blazers did a little bit of reminiscing in Week 11, defeating the U of W by three for their first win of the young MCAC season.

Bergen was dominant in the game, finishing with a monster line of 18 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks, four assists, and two steals. Making the win – and Bergen’s game – even more impressive, was that CMU was down 11 points with less than three minutes left, but fought their way back for the victory.

Although it took a lot more than Bergen’s presence on the box score to secure the comeback win, something head coach Billy Isaac is quick to mention when talking about Bergen’s role on the team.

“Adam is the leader of our team in every sense,” says Isaac. “Every practice or game you know that Adam will bring 100 percent, which automatically raises the level of play of his teammates.”

With that said, take one look at the season statistics and you’ll see Bergen’s name all over it. Bergen leads the league in defensive and total rebounds, while at the same time placing in the top ten in points, steals, and blocks.

Bergen is proving to be a real threat in the conference, and if he’s able to keep up at this pace, the Blazers are going to be a real threat come playoff time in this parity-filled MCAC season.

Riese McArthur named Week 11 Athlete of the Week

After picking up their first two wins in the last two seasons last week, the Assiniboine Community College women’s volleyball team wasn’t satisfied simply getting the monkey of their backs. With two more wins in Week 11, the Cougars showed that they’re not happy just being at .500 – and Riese McArthur was a big part of that message.

With a total of 22 kills and three aces on the weekend, McArthur was a force offensively, helping ACC defeat CMU in both matches of their weekend series. McArthur’s skills go beyond just at the net, something head coach Bryce Wilson has taken notice of.

“Riese has been a good addition in the middle for our squad this year,” says Wilson. “She has a solid all-around game, can terminate the ball, block, and is a great server. She’s going to be a big part of our future success.”

Wilson also points out McArthur’s coachability, and openness to improve her game as factors in her success. With that being the case, McArthur has a high ceiling that the Cougars are hoping she’ll be able to live up to in an MCAC season that is going in the right direction for ACC.

With their Week 11 wins, McArthur and her squad now own a 4-2 record, good for third place in the conference. Coming up this weekend is a huge matchup on the road, as ACC takes on Saint-Boniface in an opportunity to separate themselves from the team that’s hot on their tail.

This weekend could prove to be one of the Cougars most important matchups of the season – and if they want to really make a dent in this league, Riese McArthur is sure to be a big part of it.

Stephanie Willey named Week 10 Athlete of the Week

It was a big week for the Assiniboine Community College women’s volleyball team. After being held winless last year, they went out to prove early on that this is a brand new start for the Cougars, going 2-0 in Week 10, and recording their first two victories in two seasons. With last season officially behind them, this team is focused on moving forward – and co-captain Stephanie Willey is leading the charge. 
In the Cougars victories against Red River, Willey had 10 kills and 4 aces in game one, and 9 kills in game two to go along with some exceptional passing. Despite her power and technical skills on the court, head coach Bryce Wilson points to her leadership and attitude as the real driving force behind her success. 
“Steph has contributed on and off the court thus far this season,” says Wilson. “She has a great all-round game, and at the same time has been a big help to the new athletes adjusting to the college workload and life. Steph works hard in training, and the improvement in her game has shown that.”
Winning back-to-back this early in the season not only boosts the Cougars confidence from the get-go, but it also bring them to a .500 record which slots them in the top four in the conference. 
Another real test comes quickly for ACC, as Week 10 will see them take on the 0-4 Blazers in a two-match series at home. It’s still early, but in the long run this weekend has the potential to cause a significant swing forward for the Cougars, who will be looking for leaders like Stephanie Willey to step up and make this a true winning streak.