Blazers Enter 2021 Soccer Championships as Underdogs
The 2021 MCAC Soccer Championship weekend is upon us, and the matchups are all set for the Provincial event, which will see the winners compete for a CCAA National Championship in November.
The Blazers women's soccer team comes in to the championship tournament as the fourth seed, and will matchup with the top team St Boniface Rouges in Saturday's semi-final. Despite the large difference in records between the two sides, CMU's squad has matched up quite well against Les Rouges throughout their three regular season meetings which included two close losses along with a a 1-1 draw at the Ralph Cantafio Soccer Complex in their first meeting. The Blazers have defended well against St Boniface's high-powered offence, allowing only six goals over their three matches.
Both teams enter championship weekend with a sour taste in their mouths as the Blazers followed up a gritty 1-0 win over the Assiniboine Cougars with a humbling 0-8 loss to the Providence Pilots in this last weekend's final regular season games. Likewise, Les Rouges followed up a comfortable 3-0 win over Providence with a 1-1 draw to the second seeded Brandon Bobcats in this past weekend's action, planting a seed of hope for the host Bobcats, who will also be looking to take the MCAC title away from the defending champions Les Rouges if they can get past the Providence Pilots in the other semi-final matchup.
The Blazers take on Les Rouges at noon on Saturday at Brandon Sportsplex, while the hosts Brandon Bobcats take on the Providence Pilots across town at the University of Brandon - Healthy Living Centre Field. The winners of the semi-finals will matchup on Sunday at noon at Brandon University for the MCAC title, and the opportunity to represent Manitoba at the CCAA National Championships hosted by Humber College in Toronto, November 10-13.
On the men's side, the Blazers also enter the championship tournament as the fourth seed, and will face the first seed Providence Pilots in their semi-final on Saturday. Like on the women's side, the men's squad has shown an ability to play in close matches with all the teams in the championship tournament, despite coming into the playoffs as the final team to qualify. One match in particular, a defensive gem on home turf in week five of the season showed that CMU had the capabilities of frustrating opponents' offences, leaving the door open for a possible semi-final upset.
The MCAC standings in men's soccer have a noticeable tier effect, with both Providence and Brandon sitting at the top of the table with only a point difference, and third place St Boniface Rouges another ten points below the Bobcats, with your Blazers just below them. At first look it would appear that the table is set for the Pilots and Bobcats to clash in Sunday's final on Brandon's home turf; however, it would be folly for the Bobcats to look past perennial powerhouse Les Rouges in their semi-final, or for the Pilots to overlook the Blazers, who have managed playoff upsets in the past, most recently when they took home the 2018 Championship title as the underdog.
The Blazes face the Pilots at 2:30PM on Saturday at Brandon Sportsplex, following the Blazers women's semi-final, while the hosts Brandon Bobcats matchup with the St Boniface Rouges at the University of Brandon. The winners of the semi-finals will clash at 2:30PM on Sunday at Brandon University - Healthy Living Centre Field for the MCAC title, and the opportunity to represent Manitoba at the CCAA National Championships hosted by SAIT in Calgary, November 10-13.