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Men’s Volleyball Battles OCAA In Niagara Falls To Bring In 2019

After an Ontario College strike disrupted Men's Volleyball's opportunity to experience the full extent of the Niagara Invitational in January 2018, CMU returns to Niagara College this weekend to do business with their provincial neighbours and believe that 2019 may be as good a chance as ever for the Blazers to come out on top in a CCAA Men's Volleyball event.

"We have a good chance to win our pool in this tournament as we've been matched up with some teams that I think we are very even with," said head coach Don Dulder. "I think we have to set a goal of being in the final and maybe even taking it a step further."

Grouped in Pool A, CMU will challenge the likes of the Durham Lords (1-8) on Friday morning (11:00 EDT) followed by a their biggest round-robin match versus the #12 ranked Redeemer Royals (3:00 EDT) who hold a 6-3 record in the OCAA through the first half of their conference schedule. The Blazers complete pool play on Saturday morning (9:00 EDT) against the host Niagara Knights (5-4). All matches are best-of-five format.

Carter Hofer has been a standout in the Blazers rotation through the first half of the 2018-19 MCAC season, leading his team to a conference-best record of 8-0 and posting the fifth-highest kill total in Manitoba with 79 – tops on a very well-balanced CMU team.

"We're undefeated in MCAC play this season, so we know that we are doing something right here, but this is a big opportunity to take our game up a level and step into new heights as a team in this tournament," said the second-year left side.

Group B holds a few OCAA teams that will be more familiar to CMU; the likes of the Mohawk Mountaineers and Georgian Grizzlies. The Blazers have had a successful history against Mohawk, defeating the 2016 OCAA Champions in round-robin play at the 2017 Sting Challenge and have confidence on the court, should they have the opportunity to cross-over and face the Mountaineers on Saturday night.

Georgian has had the Blazers' number in all three previous meetings. CMU lost to the Grizzlies in the 2017 Seneca Final, then were swept in their second encounter last January in Barrie. This October, Georgian improved their record to 3-0 against the Blazers when they faced each other in the Sting Challenge.

"In the past, serve-receive has been our achilles heel against Georgian," said Hofer. "If we can get that started well, should we make them in the final and see them and give Tim (Jovonen) options to distribute the ball, I am confident in our ability to put the ball away."

Men's Volleyball returns to conference action on January 11th at Red River College to face the winless Rebels before returning to face the 4-4 Providence Pilots at the Loewen Athletic Centre on January 12th.





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