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CMU Blazer Athletics

Championship Pressure Claims Another Victim

The undefeated regular season champions made short-work of #4 University of Winnipeg in the Championship semis posting a 3-0 victory and found themselves in a match-up with the #2-ranked Providence Freemen for Saturday evening’s final.

It was a rematch of season’s Gold Medal final where the injury-riddled Blazers succumb to Providence in five-sets, seeing the Freemen raise the MCAC banner at Red River College. Despite dropping all four regular season matches against CMU, the Freemen took home court with expectations of an upset and in front of a loud, sold-out crowd of supporters jumped ahead 1-0 with a 25-19 opening set win.

CMU leveled the match in the second set after controversy struck Providence on match-point when Christa Penner was called for a back-row attack with the Freemen ahead 24-23. When play resumed, the Blazers served back-to-back points and escaped the game with a 26-24 win.

After taking a 2-1 lead on a 25-20 third set, the shaky CMU serve-receive from set one returned in set four, while the Providence backrow led by libero Kaitlyn Corbin risked life and limb to keep points alive. These two factors led the home team to a momentum-shifting 25-13 fourth set victory and lifted the home crowd into a frenzy.

The Freemen led the 8-5 at the mid-way point of set-five but saw CMU climb back to 8-8 on the back of Breanne Giesbrecht‘s serve. Leading 14-12 and holding serve, the defending Champions claimed victory capping the win with a Heidi Martens kill.

The loss was a difficult one to swallow, not only for graduating CMU players, but also for the entire team who had hoped to finish their perfect regular season with a Championship banner. Providence middle-blocker Victoria Ryshytylo was selected the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association