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    2016 Soccer Preview Part 1 - RRC, CMU, PUC

    Women
    Red River College
    Coming off the most dominant statistical season in the MCAC in 2015, the reigning Rebels will feature several new faces this year. The Rebels gave up just four goals in eight regular season games last season en route to a perfect season and a Championship trophy, but only four returning players from last season’s program means 2015 is behind them. Returning for Red River on defense is Paige Procter, Brittany Hogeveen and Emeraude Kwilu, as well as Nadine Reimer on the wing. So far head coach Doug Lawrie likes his new recruits for this season, especially given their maturity coming in.

    “There are some exciting new additions to the team to watch for this year.  Julia Friesen is a two-time MHSAA All-Star (Niverville Collegiate Panthers) with tremendous athleticism.  Claire Soubry is a former U of W Wesmen player who will bring her experience on the defensive side of the ball. Elizabeth Codville leaves the coaching ranks to return to the playing roster and will bring her leadership and skill to the field.”
    Soubry played four seasons with the Wesmen before agreeing to play her last season of eligibility this season with the Rebels. Codville first laced up for Red River in 2013 when she was recruited out of Sisler High School and eventually captained the Rebels.
    The Rebels play their first game against the CMU Blazers, 1:30pm this Sunday, September 11th at Ralph Cantafio Soccer Complex, formerly the Winnipeg Soccer Complex.

    Canadian Mennonite University
    Returning to the bench this season for the Blazers will be Lianna Bestvater and Cara Isaak who CMU’s athletic director and men’s soccer head coach, Russell Willms, believes to have had a big impact on the program in their first season.
    ”A large group of core players are returning including 2016 All-Conference selections Naomi Klassen and Esther Schwarzkopf and 2017 MCAC Futsal goalscoring leader, Marijka Yaschyshyn, says Willms. “A huge addition for the Blazers will be first-year goalkeeper Lydia Balsillie who will anchor CMU and should significantly reduce the number of goals the team concedes.”
    Balsille played at the high school level with the Westgate Collegiate Wings and has a long and very competitive history playing in for Portage Trails Soccer Club.
    CMU had a .500 season in 2015 going 4-4 before losing to Brandon University in the season’s Final Four. Despite featuring a great deal of promise during the futsal season, they once again failed to reach a Final. The Blazers begin their quest for reversing that this Saturday afternoon, September 10th at 1:00pm at Providence University College in Otterburne.


    Providence University College
    After tying for last place in 2015 and failing to win at home in their semi-final match, the Pilots look to bounce back and improve on their previous 1-7 season.

    Hoping to make their rebuild a smooth process is first-year midfielder Madison Will, who spent last season leading her Lorette Collegiate Scorpions to a MHSAA AAA Provincial Championship title. Also in her first season with the Pilots is keeper Abigail Morran from Kleefeld, Manitoba. Morran’s protection of the net will be vital as last season saw the Pilots give up twenty-six goals in eight games despite a couple 1-goal losses. The Pilots kick off their season at home against the CMU Blazers this Saturday, September 10th at 1:00 pm.

    Men


    Red River College
    Head coach Yiannis Tsalatsidis believes the quality of talent in the MCAC this season is as good as he’s ever seen.

    “This is going to be the most competitive soccer season the MCAC has ever had. The quality of players has risen as well as the quality of coaching. We (RRC) cannot wait to make our stamp on the league. As a team we've committed to making it a season to remember.”


    The Rebels were perhaps a little undervalued last season entering playoffs ranked fifth in the league despite featuring some exceptional talent and scoring ability. They’ll look to improve on their 4-2-4 record in 2015 and their near miss of the post season when they take on Canadian Mennonite University at 3:45 on Sunday, September 11th at Ralph Cantafio Soccer Complex, formerly the Winnipeg Soccer Complex.

    Canadian Mennonite University
    After graduating a large core of their soccer and futsal athletes after last season, head coach Russell Willms is looking to players such as Zimbabwean central defender Michael Veremu to perform at the top of the MCAC. Willms believes Veremu can be one of the conference’s best at his position along the likes of new team captain, fifth year right back, Nick Czehryn, who missed a large part of 2016 with injury. Up front, another fifth year, Cole Johnson, a three-time MCAC all-conference selection, will finish his career with the Blazers this season. Both should complement the scoring threats of second year Ryan Jensen and fourth year center forward Ben Wride. The Blazers see their first league action this Saturday, September 10th visiting Providence University College in Otterburne, MB.

    Providence University College
    The Pilots finished last season with a five-win four-loss tally good for third place in the league heading into championship weekend. A great deal of that ranking came off the feet of then-third year Mitchell Martens from Steinbach, who scored a league-leading 14 goals in 8 regular season games.
    Joining the Pilots from the bench this season is former Pilot, Joey Passi. Originally from Chile, Passi claimed MCAC Soccer MVP honours back when he wore the blue and white in 2007 before transferring to Trinity Western University in 2009 to compete at the CIS level.
    The Pilots start their season at home this Saturday, September 10th at 3:00, against the CMU Blazers.
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    Item Reviewed: 2016 Soccer Preview Part 1 - RRC, CMU, PUC Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kelly McGuinness
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