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CMU Blazer Athletics

Men’s Futsal Lifts Their First Copa de la Paz On Home Court

It has been five seasons since a CMU Blazers varsity team has tasted the glory of a conference championship but on Sunday afternoon the CMU Men's Futsal team put an end to the drought, and for the first time the trophy that recognizes the top men's futsal team in the MCAC, the Copa de la Paz, will be displayed on a campus other than the University of St-Boniface.

Fittingly, the Blazers faced the three-time champions from USB in Saturday's final; a showdown of the conference futsal titans who also met in the men's final, El Campeonato, in 2013 and 2014. 

In previous two previous meeting during the round-robin stages, CMU was able to hold off Les Rouges to the tune of a 6-4 win at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon and 3-0 at Providence University College in Otterburne, allowing the Blazers to carry the top-seed by a single point entering last weekend's Championships. 

When CMU advanced from their semifinal by holding off a fourth-seeded team from Providence who proved to be a very difficult challenge for the Blazers, by a score of 8-3, USB flexed their playoff muscles with an absolutely dominant 11-4 semifinal win over a Red River Rebels team that came within thirty seconds of defeating CMU in the final round-robin match of the tournament.

"We felt confident in our group as we prepared to face USB in the final," said head coach Russell Willms, "but their display of technical superiority and execution in Saturday's semi against Red River was definitely something that made us realize how well we would need to defend in order to beat them."

And a defensive battle it was! Imran Karama eventually opened the scoring for CMU in the 17th minute of the first half when his effort at goal was redirected off a defender and found a way past USB goalkeeper Mohamadou Fofana. From that point the scoring would be more frequent. The teams exchanged goals before the half and entered the intermission with CMU leading 2-1.

The joy of Yahai Chihab's equalizer for USB early in the second half was somewhat overshadowed by the aggressive defending of his team who found a way to commit five fouls in the opening minutes after the restart while trying to dispossess the Blazers. Andrew Letkeman, Cole Johnson and Jonah Langelotz would score from distance for CMU to give the hosts a comfortable 5-2 lead at the midway point.

The amazing skill and determination of USB captain Seif Dhaoui brought USB to 5-4 before a critical sixth foul put Letkeman to the 10-meter penalty spot where he blasted his second goal of the match and put his team ahead for good.

The cup victory was the second this season for the CMU men's soccer – futsal program who also captured the ThunderHawk Invitational in Thunder Bay back in September.

 

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