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CMU Swept By Rebels In Season Opener

The CMU men’s volleyball team fell to a skilled Red River Rebels team on Thursday night to open the regular season, swept in 3 straight sets: 14-25, 17-25, 23-26. This upset comes after the Blazers played to a decisive 3-1 preseason victory against Assiniboine Community College on September 28th and showed competitive drive in Toronto at the Seneca Cup Challenge earlier this month.

The Rebels wasted no time in overwhelming the Blazers in the first set with a decisive 11-point win. CMU closed the gap somewhat in the second set, losing by 9 points and seemed to find some rhythm in their play into the third, but came up short with a narrow 3-point loss in the third set (23-26).

Third-year left side Shawn Franz from Gretna, Manitoba, offered up some fine kills and confident leadership in the second and third sets, but noted in a post-game interview, “We came out flat-footed, and we didn’t put a lot of effort in … we definitely have to bring more energy to the table.”

First-year setter Thomas Friesen provided numerous fake sets to stymie the Rebels. Middle-blocker Kieran Enns, also from Gretna, provided tenacious defense at the net.

The Red River Rebels, some of whom are former CIS players, are an experienced and formidable adversary – a tough challenge for the relatively young Blazers. Head coach Mark Kliewer noted the impact of this first conference game: “Emotions were definitely in play for the players, and pre-game jitters for game one is something they have to get through,” he said, “being the first university game for 9 of the 11 guys, it’s something to start with. The season’s early, and we’ve got a ways to go.”

Starting the season with a loss is discouraging for players and fans alike, but watching how the Blazers climbed back into the competition bodes well for the season. The Blazers go head to head with the University of Winnipeg College Wesmen at home on Friday, October 26th, at 8 pm and then face Universite Saint Boniface, also at home, on November 1st at 8 pm. Show your support and come on out!

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