Championship Perfecto! Women's Futsal Wins Their First Copa De La Paz
Much was expected of the CMU Women's Futsal team entering the 2018 Copa de la Paz Championship playoffs this weekend, and the number-one ranked team didn't disappoint, scoring a 3-1 win over the Brandon Bobcats in Saturday's semifinal and then topping the USB Rouges 5-2 in yesterday's Championship Final to lift their first-ever Conference Championship Futsal Trophy.
After scoring two of the Blazers three goals in Saturday's semifinal victory, the MCAC's 2018 goal-scoring leader with 27 goals, Camille Plett was adding to her record-setting totals. Six minutes from kickoff, the fourth year pivot earned her team a free-kick after pushing past defender Shawna Poirier to draw a USB foul. Plett's ensuing right-footed cracker, 7-meters from goal, found a route into the net under the two-player USB wall to give the Blazers a 1-0 lead.
After Poirier equalized for Les Rouges a few minutes later, Plett restored the CMU lead when she poked in her second of the match from Esther Schwarzkopf's sliding right-footed cross: 2-1 CMU. It would stay that way until the buzzer sounded to signal the end of the first half.
Moments after the restart, 2018 MCAC Most Valuable Player Marijka Yaschyshyn gave the Blazers a two-goal cushion when the third year defender's left-footed open play blast from 9-meters made the score 3-1. Less than a minute later the lead would become three. After USB goalkeeper Daneigne Edey stopped Schwarzkopf's initial shot, she was beaten to the ensuing rebound by Plett who potted her third of the contest, giving CMU additional breathing room with a 4-1 advantage.
With enough goals counted, the final fifteen minutes would focus on the Blazers ability to defend their goal and the spotlight shifted to second year 'keeper Lydia Balsillie. Winner of eight of CMU's ten matches in the round-robin portion of the MCAC season, Balsillie would demonstrate her athleticsm and bravery to secure the Championship for her team. First, Balsillie stretched to her right to parry away Rianna Stanner's freekick that appeared destined for the bottom corner, sparking a roar from the 100-plus spectators crammed into the Assiniboine Community College Gymnasium.
After USB's Megan Burns cut the lead to 4-2, Balsillie made her best save of the day, diving to her left to stun Stephanie Berube with 8 minutes left on the game clock. With hopes of finding a formula to solve Balsillie and the CMU defence, the Rouges called for timeout with 2:38 remaing and time running out in their Championship hopes. Then with just over a minute left to play, Brandonite, Anna Lysack tapped in Schwarzkopf's kick-in assist to restore CMU's three-goal lead.
With trips to the Championship final in 2016 and 2017, this would be the season that the Blazers took the ultimate step forward; finishing with the Copa de la Paz trophy and the 2018 MCAC Women's Futsal banner. Plett would be recognized by the conference as the Championship Most Valauable Player. Combining for five goals over CMU's two-match weekend, the sniper would finish with 32 goals-scored; a standard of excellence that will stand for years to come.
The flawless season saw CMU count twelve total wins, while suffering zero ties and zero defeats.