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CMU Blazer Athletics

Inspired Blazers Push for Playoffs with Critical Away Win Versus Bobcats

CMU faced a tall task on Saturday afternoon as MCAC Women's Soccer kicked off the final weekend of the regular season. Win in Brandon, and the Blazers would create a 4-point buffer between themselves and the 5th place Bobcats. Lose, and have all their playoff hopes hinging on the final match of the MCAC season; a match that is scheduled to take place on Tuesday when the Bobcats and Assiniboine Cougars will play a controversial, point-loaded finale with the winner taking 6-points. The idea behind the 90-minute match that will count as two games was accepted by the conference after the two teams involved suggested the solution to make up for the two previously scheduled games that were postponed due to rainy and snowy field conditions.

It was a nervy but determined first half on Saturday as the teams took the pitch in Brandon. Goals for either team in 2019 have not come easy, witnessed in their first meeting in Winnipeg in mid-September when the Blazers and Bobcats played to a 0-0 tie at the Ralph Cantafio Soccer Complex. When the referee's whistle sounded to bring about halftime, there were still no goals on the scoresheet.

A span of 12-minutes in the middle moments of the second half would write the story of Saturday's match. As the Bobcats pushed for the game's first goal in the 69th minute of action, the Blazers attempted to clear a ball played dangerously in the CMU penalty area but a ensuing miss-kick struck Brandon's Hasana Church who brought the ball under control and quickly blasted it by CMU goalkeeper Lydia Balsillie, believing she had scored to give the host a 1-0 lead. Immediately the match's head referee called a meeting to discuss the scoring-play with his linesperson and the two agreed that the clearance attempt struck the hand of Church allowing the Bobcats' midfielder the opportunity to score. The goal was disallowed, still 0-0.

As the minutes ticked up to 80, CMU's tactical move to activate Tiegan Kroeker into a more attacking role at halftime, paid dividends. Beginning as a central defender, where the Blazers' captain has been positioned for the majority of the season, Kroeker found herself in center midfield, asked to advance her team forward and create a goal. In the 81st minute, Kroeker broke behind the Bobcats midfield and lobbed a 25-yard shot at goal before the Brandon defenders could close her down. The airborne ball eluded Emily Scramstad in the Bobcats goal and turned the match on its top.

With the win, CMU moved 8 points clear of 5th place Brandon for the final place it the 2019 MCAC Final Fours. A CMU loss on Sunday (1-0 to USB), combined with a 1-1 tie between the Bobcats and Red River Rebels has closed the gap to 3 points. The Blazers must wait for the result of Tuesday night's final match of the 2019 women's soccer regular season to see how the playoff positions surface.




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