Blazers Teams Getting Set for Championships
A preview of the final weeks of the 2022/23 season
It's another busy weekend for Blazers Athletics as championship season begins for basketball while futsal and volleyball look to finish their seasons strong.
Canadian Mennonite University's Loewen Athletic Centre will be the location for the upcoming 2022/23 MCAC Basketball Championships, which start on Friday night with semi-finals set for 6:00 and 8:00 ahead of the main event on Sunday night.
In the early matchup, the second-seeded Providence Pilots will face the third-seeded St Boniface Rouges for the chance to play the Blazers' women in the final at 6:00 on Sunday night. The Blazers went a perfect 8-0 in MCAC play this season, and are looking to hoist the MCAC trophy for a fifth-consecutive season.
The late game will feature the 4-4 Blazers men as the second seed, hosting Les Rouges for a chance to meet the Pilots in the final on Sunday night. The Blazers are hoping to flip the script on the Pilots, who last year got through their semi-final with Les Rouges to upset the top-seeded CMU squad on their home court out in Niverville.
Not wanting to look past the MCAC Championships, the Blazers women's basketball team has already secured the second-seed in the upcoming NIAC Championships in Plymouth, Minnesota a weekend later, where they look to rekindle their 2020 magic when they won the conference championship in their most recent appearance at the tournament before the COVID-19 pandemic. The men's squad will enter the tournament as the seventh seed after a late season dropout by Nueta Hidatsa has confirmed their spot in the eight-team championship. The tournament runs February 17-19 as a single-elimination championship with quarter-finals on Friday followed by semi-finals on Saturday, and Finals on Sunday.
* * * * *
The Blazer futsal teams finish up their regular season schedule this weekend with the final tournament leg of the Copa de la Paz. This Sunday's games will be hosted by Universite de Saint-Boniface on the men's side, while the women will play out in Niverville. Both teams will face the Providence Pilots at 12:45 followed by a meeting with St Boniface Rouges at 4:15. Currently the men's team sits in third in the standings and still could move up or down one spot in the rankings ahead of the championships depending on this weekend's results, but have assured themselves a spot in the final tournament hosted once again where it all began here at CMU. The women's team currently sits in the fourth and final playoff spot ahead of play this weekend and look set to make the final tournament though there is still a mathematical chance of movement up or down.
The MCAC Futsal Championship will take place in the Loewen Athletic Centre February 18-19 with semi-finals on Saturday followed by finals on Sunday.
* * * * *
Not ones to be left out, the Blazers volleyball teams have a set of games of their own this weekend as they face Les Rouges in St Boniface on Friday night, then come home for a rematch on Saturday night, which will also serve as Senior Night for graduating players as its the final home game of the year for the green and gold. Timothy Juvonen of men's volleyball will be the lone graduate from this year's teams and will get the traditional Blazers sendoff prior to first serve.
With only three games remaining in the volleyball schedule and the Blazers three games up on the Pilots in the men's standings expect to see a lot of fresh faces in the lineup for their final matches as coach Don Dulder looks to give his younger talent more in-game experience and his veteran starters some rest ahead of their championships February 25-26 held this year at Universite de Saint-Boniface. This Friday's match could be a semi-final preview as the first-place Blazers will meet the fourth-seeded team, which as of now is Les Rouges.
On the women's side, St Boniface sits in first place in the standings, while the Blazers sit in a tie for third place with the Cougars. CMU has had relatively good success against the St Boniface side this season handing them two of their three losses on the campaign, and with the final game of the season against Assiniboine Community College there is still room for a lot of movement in the standings prior to the championship tournament.
The winners of the MCAC Volleyball Championships will head to CCAA Volleyball Nationals held this year from March 8-11. Victoria Island University in Nanaimo, British Columbia are set to host the women's championship, while the Humber Hawks in Toronto, Ontario host the men's tournament this year.