Reppin' Manitoba, Men's Soccer Enters Pair Of Friendlies Against Alberta
It has been three years since the Men's Soccer Program has stepped onto the pitch against an opponent other than an MCAC rival. 2013 was the first year that the Blazers hosted a non-conference opponent. The ACAC's Medicine Hat Rattlers made a visit to Winnipeg in the preseason and handed the Blazers a 4-1 defeat. In 2014, CMU hosted the nationally-ranked Lakeland Rustlers on Labour Day Weekend and fell 3-0 and in 2015 the Rustlers again emerged as 4-1 victors.
A rookie in 2015, Ryan Jensen (pictured against Lakeland in 2015) is one of a handful of players remaining on the current squad who has experience against an ACAC opponent. The then 18 year-old created the first goal of the match in the opening 10 minutes against Lakeland, sending Simon Dueck in to blast CMU into a short-lived lead against their Albertan opponents.
"If I could pass on any piece of advice to the young players on our team, I think I would suggest that they think about a few things that they can visualize themselves doing in these games," said the former Bonivital Soccer Club star and current fourth-year Blazer. "Whether that be working on pass completions, being more vocal, winning every ball in the air, taking their defender on 1 v 1 or something as simple as staying disciplined for the full duration of the match. Whatever it takes for them to feel like they left their best on the field. I strongly believe that win or lose, there is no better feeling than finishing a match satisfied with the way you represented yourself and your team."
Jensen sits on three goals after three matches played against MCAC competition so far this season. Men's Soccer carries a record of 1-1-1 into this weekend's friendlies in Alberta.
CMU's weekend series begins tonight in Calgary, where the Blazers tackle the Ambrose Lions. The match will also be a first for the Lions who have battled CMU in prior cross-conference futsal matches but are just beginning their first full season in ACAC Men's Soccer competition. Through three matches played in their young existence, the Lions have managed a scoreless draw against Lakeland to go with two losses and sit on one point with a record of 0-1-2. Tonight's match will take place on the SAIT campus at Cohos Commons Field at 7:00pm.
The task on Saturday afternoon will be an even larger one for the Blazers when they step back onto the pitch to challenge the SAIT Trojans at Cohos. On the other end of the ACAC standings, the Trojans carry an undefeated record of 4-0-0, scoring 12 goals and allowing just 2 through four games played. Armando Garcia tops SAIT in offensive production as he has contributed directly to half the Trojans goals, scoring 3 times and setting up 3 others. In the most recent Canadian Collegiate Athletic Assocation rankings, SAIT stands 4th in the country and are the top-ranked program in Alberta. Saturday's match gets underway at 4:00pm.
The CMU women are also in Calgary this weekend taking on the same ACAC opponents. The Blazers meet the Lions (1-1-1) at Cohos tonight at 5:00pm and challenge the #6 ranked SAIT Trojans (4-0-0), who boast 26 goals-for and 0 goals-conceded through four matches, on Saturday at 2:00pm.