Men's Soccer Limps Into Championship Weekend With High Expectations
Hampered by a serious string of injuries through the critical month of October, Men's Soccer is preparing for the biggest weekend of their season beginning Saturday afternoon when the #3 ranked Blazers kickoff with the #2 Red River Rebels in the first round of the 2016 MCAC Final Fours.
The string of problems started for the Blazers when leading goal-scorer Ben Wride received a head injury at training that has kept the fourth year out of the CMU lineup since October 2nd.
"We haven't had the best luck when it comes to injuries this season," said head coach Russell Willms, "it seems like are tested each weekend with new challenges but we'll see what we can piece together for an eleven as we get things sorted out for the weekend."
A positive note for CMU is the likely return of Robbie Friesen to the roster for Saturday's semifinal. Scorer of two goals this season for his team, the goalkeeper-turned-striker factored into a 1-0 win over the Brandon Bobcats on October 8th but suffered an ankle injury late in the contest and missed CMU's final three conference matches.
Michael Veremu, who missed the final match of the season with a foot problem will also likely be available to get back into the lineup for the number-3 ranked team.
"If there is one positive thing about players being out of action, it is that you find out more about the others that are available; who can play in what positions and you see things that challenge what you initially thought was your best eleven," added Willms.
Regardless of who suits up for the Blazers this weekend, it has been another solid regular season for the program. CMU finished third of six teams in the conference and despite taking only one of six available points on the final weekend, the team is itching for another shot at the #2 Rebels who defeated CMU 3-0 and 3-1 in their previous meetings this season.
The Blazers take the pitch this Saturday at 2:00pm at Norm Konowalchuk Field against the host Rebels and with a win, will challenge the winner of the other men's semi; #1 USB Les Rouges and #4 Providence Pilots for the Martin Ward Trophy on Sunday at 3:00pm.