Men's Futsal Slide Into MCAC Final Fours On Back To Back Wins
After suffering a draw and 2 losses in Rounds 6, 7 and 8 of the 2018 Copa de la Paz, Men's Futsal scored weekend victories over the ACC Cougars and Brandon Bobcats to pick up all six points, raising the squads confidence and more importantly, solidifying their place in the MCAC's top four as the teams head into Championship weekend this Saturday and Sunday in Brandon.
CMU welcomed back Ryan Jensen into the team after the third-year playmaker missed the last two matches due to injury. Jensen made an immediate impact against the ACC Cougars setting up Justin Jutzi for his first of the season in the opening two minutes to give the Blazers a 1-0 lead. CMU would get goals from Daniel McIntyre-Ridd and Michael Veremu (pictured) and got some help from the visitors with an additional own-goal to lead 4-2 at the end of one half.
Already eliminated on a record of 0-0-8, the Cougars showed no lack of claw when the teams returned to the court for the second half. Jose Urias cut the lead to one early in the second half and after ACC nearly found an equalizer, Jensen gave the Blazers a cushion with a fifth goal and brought the Saturday morning crowd to their feet. From there CMU would run for four more including two from McIntyre-Ridd who scored his first hat-trick as a Blazer and watch as linemates Roy Miller and Jaime Hamilton potted single, adding to a 9-3 win.
CMU's Round 10 opponent entered the weekend as the MCAC second place team in the standings and holding a six-point advantage on the third place Blazers. But the Blazers win, combined with the Bobcats lopsided 10-4 loss to the Providence Pilots on Saturday morning, closed the gap to three and created an interesting scenario for the final round; a match that would also be the final home game for Hamilton, Veremu and goalkeeper Robbie Friesen.
Veremu and Friesen would be the story of the match, as the powerful pivot would unleash two unstoppable left-footed markers to start and finish the CMU scoring, while Friesen would win the goalkeeper battle between the CMU third-year and BU's Dan Harrison, who backstopped the Bobcats to a 6-2 home win in the first meeting between these two opponents on January 27 in Brandon. Friesen made a number of jaw-dropping saves to draw even in the series on the spoils of the 5-2 win. Jensen (2) and McIntyre-Ridd would also score goals for CMU.
On three more points gained, CMU and Brandon finished the round robin even on points with 19, holding equal record of 6 wins, 1 tie and 3 defeats. The season series between the two was also even, each winning one of two. Goal-differential solved the stalemate where the Bobcats held the advantage +10 to +8.
With the tie-break solved and all 10 rounds of the 2018 Copa de la Paz now complete, the semifinal match-up will see last Saturday's opponents meet again at Assiniboine Community College on Saturday at noon with the winner of #3 CMU versus #2 Brandon booking their place in Sunday's El Campeonato against the winner of #1 USB Rouges (9-0-2) and #4 Providence Pilots (4-2-4). The Blazers won their first and only Copa de la Paz Men's Futsal banner in 2015.