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Everything To Prove As Soccer Travels To Alberta This Weekend

It's been three short months since the big announcement, that being, the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference's application approved to join the CCAA. Now the sixth regional conference of the national association, the MCAC must continue to show their level of competitiveness over the next two seasons as probationary members in anticipation of entering full membership in the CCAA in 2021-22.

The Blazers are the final MCAC soccer program to meet a CCAA opponent this season, but were the first to enter into preseason matches with opponets from Alberta. CMU hosted the Lakeland Rustlers in 2012 and the Medicine Hat Rattlers in 2013. Two weeks ago, the USB Rouges, Providence Pilots and ACC Cougars hosted preaseason matches with the Olds College Broncos and then last weekend, the Brandon Bobcats travelled west to play the Briercrest Clippers and Ambrose Lions.

Today, CMU is departing for Medicine Hat for a Saturday afternoon kickoff against the Rattlers before a short trip southwest to Lethbridge on Sunday to challenge the Lethbridge College Kodiaks. 

"I think we surprised some people last year with our results in Alberta and we're looking forward to opening even more eyes this weekend," said Men's Soccer head coach Anderson Pereira, who led the Blazers to their first MCAC Championship since 2005 last season. The CMU men went undefeated in their 2018 Alberta series, defeating the Ambrose Lions 3-1 and scoring a draw with the then top-ranked team in the country; the SAIT Trojans, 2-2. "We're definitely aiming at keeping our record undefeated against CCAA teams again this season."

Medicine Hat holds a record of 1-0-1 through one weekend of play in the 2019 season and is coming off a massive 9-0 blowout victory over Augustana last Sunday. Lethbridge sits at 1-1-0, also keeping a clean sheet against Augustana and suffering a narrow 3-2 defeat to the Red Deer Kings.

The CMU women also enjoyed success in 2018 in their two CCAA showcase matches. The Blazers defeated Ambrose 2-1 and though they lost to the undefeated SAIT Trojans 3-1, CMU were the first team to score against the perennial ACAC south division powerhouses.

The young Blazer women have their hands full this weekend, fielding a starting eleven that could feature as many as seven rookies. Their Saturday opponents are coming off a 1-0 victory over Augustana and have taken 3 of a possible 6 points from their first weekend of conference competition. The Kodiaks currently lead the south division, undefeated after two matches, taking wins over Red Deer and the Augustana Vikings in Week 1.

"We are really happy with the way our team has come together and the potential our young squad has," said co-coach Lianna Bestvater. Bestvater and Cara Isaak lead CMU to their first MCAC Championship since the two former Manitoba Bisons took the helm in 2014. "For us, this weekend is much more about building to be competitive in our MCAC season. Good results would be a nice if they come for us (in Alberta), but we have lots of things to work on all over the field. We won't get too focused on scores this weekend, especially when they don't affect our Manitoba conference standings."

CMU returns home on Monday to prepare for Week 3 of MCAC competition. The Blazer renew acquintances with the first place USB Rouges in St. Vital on September 21st and are at home to meet the Brandon Bobcats at Ralph Cantafio on September 22nd.

Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

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