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The Futsal Champions are Crowned at the 2015 Copa de la Paz

The Futsal community is alive and well in Manitoba – and if you don’t believe it, then you must not have been at Canadian Mennonite University on Sunday for the 2015 MCAC Futsal Championships.

In front of a raucous crowd, the Providence Pilots women’s team defended their 2014 title with an 8-7 win against Red River, followed by the home team CMU Blazers satisfying their fans with an emotional 6-4 victory against Université de Saint-Boniface.

Back-and-fourth would be the best way to describe the women’s final between Providence and Red River College. The first half of play saw seven goals scored, capped off by a nifty move from Megan-Rae Castro in front to put the Rebels up 4-3 going into the second half.

It was in the second where the Pilots really started clicking, but not before Elizabeth Codville potted one in tight to extend the lead to 5-3. From there, Providence knew they needed to turn things around quick, and that’s when Jessica Gzebb and Tournament MVP Julika Kehler came alive. Feeding on the chemistry they’ve had all season, Gzebb scored the final three goals for Providence, two of which were orchestrated by some incredible passing by Kehler.

The dynamic duo’s play in the second half was perhaps the difference, as Providence found their first lead of the game at 7-6. The Pilots never turned back, with Providence outlasting the Rebels in this thriller of a game to bring home their second straight MCAC Futsal Championship. Leading the way in scoring for Providence was Gzebb with four goals and Kehler with two, while Castro and Codville both had a pair for the Rebels.

The scoring pace may have been different in the men’s final, but that certainly didn’t effect the excitement level as fans witnessed a fantastic rematch from the 2014 Finals between Saint-Boniface and the home team Blazers.

It took until half way through the first half before anyone got on the board, as CMU’s Imran Karama crammed it off the defender and in for the first lead of the game. For the next ten minutes, the game became a goaltending dual as both Evan Balzer and Mahamadou Fofana traded incredible saves, diving across their crease and keeping it a one-goal game.

However, as the first half went into stopped time, Saint-Boniface finally found the back of the net as Seifeddine Dhaoui scored alone in front, just thirty seconds before CMU scored yet again on a Simon Dueck breakaway to end the half with a 2-1 lead.

Saint Boniface came out flying in the second half, as Yahia Chihab leaped into the air to tip in the team’s second of the game to tie it up. This however, would be the closest the Les Rouges would come to victory – as the Blazers found another gear in the latter half of the second. Lead by two clutch goals from Andrew Letkeman, and stellar play by Tournament MVP Jonah Langelotz, the Blazers were just too much for the defending champions. After the Blazers scored on a penalty kick, the game was sealed and the clock expired with CMU on top – officially crowning them the 2015 MCAC Futsal Champions.

Results: 

Women's Final – 2:00 p.m.
Providence University College vs Red River College
Providence University College wins 8-7

Men's Final - 3:30 p.m.
Université de Saint-Boniface vs Canadian Mennonite University
Canadian Mennonite University wins 6-4


Repeats and Redemption: The MCAC Volleyball Champions are Crowned

If this weekend’s Volleyball Final Fours have taught us anything, it is to never judge a volleyball game by its first set. Despite two lop-sided opening frames at Assiniboine Community College on Sunday, the crowd was treated to two excellent volleyball matches to put a cap on the 2014-2015 volleyball season.

For the women, the University of Winnipeg College Wesmen are now the two-time defending champions after defeating Providence in four sets for their second MCAC title in a row. On the men’s side, the Red River Rebels found redemption from last year’s fifth-set loss in the finals to finish off what was a perfect season in the MCAC.

Men’s Final

After a dominant 25-16 first set victory, things weren’t looking good for the Providence Pilots. The Rebels were pounding the ball, and stopping any runs the Pilots tried to get themselves on.

After showing life late in the second, the Pilots pushed to 22 points, but were still unable to ground the undefeated Rebels team. Despite not being able to win the set, Providence used that momentum to put it all out there with their season on the line in the third. The Rebels showed signs of strength, but through excellent setting and a strong attack up the middle, the Pilots were able to steal the third set 25-23.

The fourth was where the fireworks started. Providence, still reeling off a strong third set, came out flying, punishing the Rebels with strong net-play and good defense. But as the set wore on, the game evened out, and the setter-hitter combination of Erik Redekopp and Final Fours MVP Ty Loewen was almost unstoppable. After going blow-for-blow for the entire second half of the set, each team had an opportunity to win with multiple set-points. But at 29-28, the Rebels had Providence on the ropes, and officially capped off their undefeated season, capturing their 30th point of the set.


Women’s Final

Ever since they faced off in the 2014 Women’s Final, the Providence Pilots and College Wesmen have been perhaps the most competitive matchup in the entire MCAC – and today’s final supported that entirely.

The parity that exists between these two teams was certainly apparent, but it wasn’t your typical back-and-fourth matchup. Providence came out firing in the first, dominating at the net with an attack led by Player of the Game Lauren Toews. The Pilots really never allowed the College Wesmen to get anything going, and it resulted in a 25-12 victory.

The second set was where we saw the matchup we were expecting out of these two teams. After at 16-9 start for the
Pilots, the College Wesmen battled back with smart positional play, and some exceptional serving by Final Fours MVP Jocelyn Bartos to win set two 26-24.

Once the second set ended, the tables felt like they had officially turned, with the College Wesmen pouring on the pressure, and finding a real groove in their offense. After taking the third set 25-12, they continued to roll, pushing their way to a 15-7 lead in the fourth. The game seemed like it was on the verge of becoming out of reach for Providence. The Pilots, however, slowly started clicking until momentum was almost entirely on their side to bring the set to 19-18 in what looked like it would be the turning point of the match.

But the College Wesmen just wouldn’t be denied, throwing momentum out the window and willing their way onto the scoreboard until they were crowned champions with a 25-21 fourth set victory.

Congratulations to both of our MCAC Volleyball Champions, and to all of the teams who competed in the MCAC this season. It was an exciting season with an equally exciting finish, and the MCAC is grateful for all of those who have supported the conference this year.

Results: 

Women's Volleyball – 12:00 p.m.
Providence University College vs University of Winnipeg College
University of Winnipeg College wins 3-1 (12-25, 26-24, 25-12, 25-21)

Men's Volleyball - 2:00 p.m.
Red River College vs Providence University College
Red River College wins 3-1 (25-16, 25-22, 23-25, 30-28)

MCAC Volleyball Championship Matches Set

In a day of volleyball where games followed the script the standings wrote for them, it took a classic MCAC rivalry in the final hour to turn it all on its head.

With a full day of volleyball in the books for the MCAC Volleyball Final Fours at Assiniboine Community College, we now know it will be Providence taking on the University of Winnipeg College Wesmen for the women’s title, and the Pilots against the top-seeded Red River Rebels on the men’s side.

It shouldn’t come to a surprise that a matchup between Canadian Mennonite University and Providence University College pulled out all the stops, but the five-set thriller that took place in the last match of the day brought the fans at ACC even more than expected.

The competition level was high from the very first serve, as it became clear early on that these two teams not only had history, but they were as evenly matched as any two teams in the conference. Providence threw the first blow taking the first set 25-23, but then the Blazers threw it right back, taking the second set 25-23 themselves.

Back-and-fourth was the theme of the match, and when it got down to the fifth set, back-and-fourth was exactly what we would see. Trading point-for-point, MCAC All-Conference selections Matt Friesen, and Joel Kliewer continued to step up to the moment for their teams on offense. That was, until match point where, ironically, it was setter Lucas Pappel who delivered the finishing kill to cap off his exceptional game, and move his team on to the finals.

At first glance, the opening match of the day looked like it could be a blowout, as the College Wesmen came out dominant with 25-8, and 25-11 victories in the first two sets. With their control of the ball and dominant net presence, it didn’t look like Saint-Boniface had any answers for the defending champs.

However, Saint-Boniface didn’t travel to Brandon only to be swept, as they looked like a new team in the third, passing the ball well, controlling the net, and serving in bunches. Led by a strong attack from All-Conference selection Keisha-Mae Kaddu, and Player of the Game Stephanie Rempel, they fought to a 25-17 win in set three.

Although Saint-Boniface was able to piggy-back of their strong third-set to keep things competitive in the fourth, the College Wesmen and Player of the Game Talia Paetsch found a new gear, and turned the match back in their favour, defeating the Les Rouges 25-17.

In the first men’s matchup of the day, the Red River Rebels continued the tear they’ve been on this season by defeating Université de Saint-Boniface in straight sets. This match was a whole lot closer than the sweep would seem, as Saint-Boniface came out firing in the first, until the Rebels over-powered them with a late push to secure a 25-23 victory.

Saint-Boniface had their moments when they frustrated the top-seed, led by a dynamic attack from Jean-Bocar Diallo. But as the match wore on, the Rebels continued firing, and Saint-Boniface just wasn’t able to handle Red River’s star players in All-Conference selection Kevin Bommersbach, and regular season MVP Ty Loewen.

The final women’s match of the day saw the Providence Pilots defeat the hometown Assiniboine Community College Cougars in straight sets. The Pilots looked focused in reclaiming the title they’ve won four of the past five seasons, and the Cougars were the first obstacle in doing that.

Led by a dominant attack from regular season MVP Shayna Staerk, the Pilots out-muscled ACC from the start, jumping to a 7-1 lead to begin the match. They really never looked back after that point, and held the Cougars to under 17 points in each set.

The MCAC continues its Final Fours weekend tomorrow afternoon at Assinboine Community College, as the women’s final begins at 12 pm, with the men following up at 2 pm.

Results:

Women's Volleyball – 12:00 p.m.
Université de Saint-Boniface vs University of Winnipeg College
University of Winnipeg College wins 3-1 (25-8, 25-11, 17-25, 25-17)

Men's Volleyball - 2:00 p.m.
Red River College vs Université de Saint-Boniface
Red River College wins 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-16)

Women’s Volleyball – 4:00 p.m.
Providence University College vs Assiniboine Community College
Providence University College wins 3-0 (25-12, 25-16, 25-12)

Men's Volleyball – 6:00 p.m.
Canadian Mennonite University vs Providence University College
Providence University College wins 3-2 (25-23, 23-25, 19-25, 25-20, 16-14)

MCAC Reveals Volleyball All-Conference Teams

As today’s Final Fours got underway, the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference revealed its All-Conference Teams and Most Valuable Players in both men and women’s volleyball to fans, players, and coaches at Assiniboine Community College.

The selections were based on votes by the member schools’ coaches and are listed below:

Men’s Volleyball

Most Valuable Player – Ty Loewen, Red River College

Jean-Bocar Diallo – Université de Saint-Boniface
Matt Friesen – Providence University College
Erik Redekopp – Red River College
Joel Kliewer – Canadian Mennonite University
Kevin Bommersbach – Red River College
Jason Friesen – Canadian Mennonite University

Women’s Volleyball

Most Valuable Player – Shayna Staerk, Providence University College

Talia Paetsch – University of Winnipeg College
Katelyn Corbin – Providence University College
Lauren Toews – Providence University College
Hailey Hildebrand – University of Winnipeg College
Keisha-Mae Kaddu – Université de Saint-Boniface
Stephanie Willey – Assiniboine Community College

MCAC Volleyball Final Fours Preview


After five months of match-points, clean-sweeps, and fifth-sets, the MCAC volleyball season will reach a conclusion this weekend in Brandon, Manitoba, as Assiniboine Community College hosts the 2015 Volleyball Final Fours.

In the women’s division, there’s a lot to be excited about as far as storylines go. Kicking off the day is the defending champion University of Winnipeg College Wesmen taking on Université de Saint-Boniface. The College Wesmen will be championship-or-bust this year after knocking off the undefeated Pilots in last year’s Final Fours, but face a solid Saint-Boniface team who has certainly earned the right to not be taken lightly.

The final women’s match of the day will see the host team from Assiniboine Community College look to ride their home crowd to success against the Providence Pilots. Providence has won the title four of the past five seasons, and would love nothing more than to avenge last season’s defeat, but the Cougars have some serious firepower at the net and will try to upset a Pilots team who have only lost once this season.

On the men’s side, the Red River Rebels will try to keep their undefeated season alive against Université de Saint-Boniface. The Les Rouges are coming off big back-to-back victories against CMU and Providence, while the Rebels were mere points away from last year’s championship, and are itching to get back to the mountain once again.

In the final match of the day, the Providence/CMU rivalry will be sparked up once again as the Pilots and Blazers will fight for a birth in the finals. These two teams’ talents have shone in spurts this year, and whoever is able to peak at the perfect time will have a real shot at winning it all this season.

Below is the schedule for the Volleyball Final 4’s. Admission for this event is free for all ages. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Women's Semi-final #1: USB vs UW 12:00 pm
Men's Semi-final #1: USB vs RRC                2:00 pm
Women's Semi-final #2: ACC vs PUC                 4:00 pm
Men's Semi-final #2: PUC vs CMU                6:00 pm

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Women's Championship: 12:00 pm
Men's Championship:                      2:00 pm

Before each Saturday match, the MCAC will hand out its All-Conference Team selections and regular season MVP awards to those athletes participating.

Defensive Dynasties: The Rebels Repeat as Champions


It certainly wasn’t easy, but for the fourth straight year the Rebels basketball teams can also be called champions in the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference.

In front of packed crowds at Canadian Mennonite University, the Red River College women’s basketball team took home their fourth-straight title defeating the Blazers 36-34, while the men earned their unprecedented seventh-straight MCAC Championship defeating the Pilots 65-53.

In the past, the Rebels teams have found their success with their high-powered offensive lineups overwhelming the competition – but today it was all about defence. By only allowing their opponents a combined 87 points in the two championship games, the Rebels pushed their way to a new chapter of their legacy through a physical, high-intensity brand of basketball that may not have shown up in the box score, but engraved their name on the trophy all the same.

In the first match of the day, the women’s Rebels were up against CMU’s home crowd, and a number-two seed team coming off a statement victory against the Pilots in the semifinal.

After the Blazers kicked the game off with a 7-2 run, the first half quickly turned into a defensive clinic. With tough battles for rebounds, quick turnovers, and exceptional hustle from both teams, the first twenty minutes ended with the Blazers up 19-17, and with no players registering more than five points in the half.

The style of the game stayed the same in the third quarter, but the Rebels began to turn it on to get back in the game, and keep their chances of a four-peat alive. Leading the charge for the Rebels was tournament MVP Zara Lynn Panesa, who’s smooth dribbling skills, and exceptional court-awareness gave them the edge they needed to gain control of the game.

However, the Blazers would not be let down easy, almost always finding an answer on both ends of the floor until the very end. After holding possession for almost the entire final minute, it all came down to one last run as the Blazers grabbed the ball with four-seconds left on the clock. Unfortunately for CMU, the final shot sailed off the mark, and the Rebels celebrated what has become a familiar site throughout the years.

The men’s final was a physical battle, and the 44 free throw attempts in the game told that story well. Although the Pilots showed moments of strength, the Rebels had the edge in the first half. With a 36-23 lead, the Rebels were out muscling Providence, and used their defence to stifle any groove the Pilots tried to get themselves in.

The second half was where the fireworks started, as Providence used their sense of desperation to will themselves back into the game. Led by some huge buckets by Rigueson Desorvil, and exceptional defence at the rim by Raymond Hiebert, the Pilots came alive, cutting the Rebels lead down to one. That was, until tournament MVP Evan Walker turned the game around.

Using his speed and strength, Walker forced his way to the rim or to the free throw line again and again, frustrating a Pilots defence that was desperate for some much needed turnovers. Walker’s 20 points, ten rebounds, and three assists, combined with clutch shooting from Kevin Quirante and his 15-point game appeared to be the difference. Despite a strong effort until the very end, the Rebels ability to keep the pressure on was simply too much for the Pilots to charge back from – and the Rebels were crowned champions once again.

Today’s finals marked the end of a great basketball season in the MCAC. Despite two more Rebels titles added to the list, it was a season where league-parity was evident every week. A big congratulations goes out to Red River College’s basketball program, but also to all of those who participated in and supported the MCAC season this year.

MCAC Basketball Championship Match-ups Set




In a day of dominant basketball, day one of the MCAC Final 4’s saved the best for last as the Providence Pilots finished the semifinals by advancing to the MCAC Championships in a high-tempo back-and-fourth battle against the University of Winnipeg College Wesmen. 

Joining Providence in the Men’s Final is Red River College, who will be looking to win their unprecedented seventh straight MCAC title. On the women’s side, it will be Canadian Mennonite University with a home crowd on their side, against the Rebels, who will be trying to capture their fourth title in a row.

Each team had their moments in what ended up being the marquee matchup of the day when the Pilots and College Wesmen took the court. The University of Winnipeg had the edge early on, leading 18-12 after the first quarter. However, as expected, this game continued to even out as time went on, and the Pilots were able to take the lead going into the second half by getting to the line and tightening up on defense.

Providence really came alive in the third quarter, as Player of the Game Rigueson Desorvil muscled his way to the rim, and savvy point guard Romeo KC ran an offense that really found its consistency in the second half.

Despite an 18-point and six-rebound performance from Sulaiman Jalloh, the Pilots proved to be too much for the third-seed as Providence took home the 75-60 victory. In the end, Desorvil finished with an exceptional line of 22 points, six rebounds, and eight steals, while KC also had a well-rounded 10 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, and five steals of his own.

In the first game of the day, we saw the CMU Blazers take on the Providence Pilots to continue their rivalry in women’s basketball. However, things ended up being a bit more one-sided as the home team came out firing on all cylinders.

The first half was all Blazers. After trading blows for the first couple of minutes, CMU came alive on both ends of the court, scoring in bunches, and shutting down the Pilots through a high-pressure defence which forced 24 turnovers in the first half alone.

Providence tried to swing things back in their favour in the second half, but as the Blazers continued to tighten up their defense, they continued to make their shots as well. In the end, the 42 turnovers CMU forced up were too much to recover from for the Pilots as their MCAC season comes to an end in a 66-42 loss.

Leading the charge for the Blazers was Player of the Game Scotia Stewner, who finished with 14 points, five rebounds, and five steals on the day, as well as a strong offensive effort from Tiara Licsi, who dropped 16 points of her own.

In the first men’s matchup of the game, the 2014 MCAC Championship rematch between the Rebels and the Blazers started off very similar to last year, with a fast-paced, back-and-fourth battle with neither team really holding an advantage. That all changed half-way through the second half when the Rebels shot the lights out, including 19 first-half points from All-Conference selection Taylor Brown.

Once the floodgates were opened, there was no stopping the six-time defending champions as they continued to pour it on until the game was officially out of reach in an 88-67 victory. Brown finished with 29 points on the day in only 18 minutes of playing time, while Ivan Griffiths provided the grit for Red River with 16 points, five rebounds, and four steals.

In the 1 vs 4 women’s matchup, the Red River Rebels showed why they’ve won three straight titles as they outplayed the College Wesmen to a 66-27 victory. The game moved slowly in the first quarter, as the teams fought defensively to a 4-3 game with five minutes left in the frame. After that, the game opened up, and it was the Rebels who took advantage.

Leading the way for the Red River College was MCAC MVP Susanna Namgung, who, with 21 points and seven rebounds, was also named the Player of the Game. The Rebels line-up is perhaps the most complete in the league, and they certainly showed that today with a dominant performance on both ends of the court.

The MCAC continues its Final Fours weekend tomorrow afternoon at Canadian Mennonite University, as the women’s final tips off at 2pm, with the men following up at 4pm. Admission is five dollars for the day. 

Women’s Basketball – 12:00 p.m.
Providence University College vs Canadian Mennonite University
Canadian Mennonite University wins 66-42

Men’s Basketball - 2:00 p.m.
Canadian Mennonite University vs Red River College
Red River College wins 88-67

Women’s Basketball – 4:00 p.m.
Providence University College vs Red River College
Red River College wins 66-27

Men’s Basketball - 6:00 p.m.
Providence University College vs University of Winnipeg College
Providence University College wins 75-60.