The Canadian Mennonite University Blazers beat the top-ranked Université de Saint Boniface Les Rouges in straight sets (25-21, 25-17, 25-15) on Sunday to win their first MCAC championship since 2017.
After starting the season with a 3-6 record, the Blazers put together 13 straight wins on route to the 2020 MCAC championship.
“This semester we began to work as a cohesive unit. We built confidence and became a resilient and focused group and it was reflected in our games,” said CMU left side Jana Klassen. “We peaked at the right time.”
CMU was rolling on all cylinders in their 3-1 semi-final win over the Providence University College Pilots on Saturday. They carried that momentum into Sunday’s final.
Sadie McTavish, Jana Klassen and Jessica Edel kept firing kills at the Les Rouges — their aggressive attack helped them build leads early on in sets.
McTavish made clutch plays throughout the match, including the set-winning kills in the second and third frame — she was named championship MVP.
On the other side of the court, league MVP Zoé Savoie led the Les Rouges, in search of her first major volleyball championship. USB was behind in a lot of the match, but when the team needed a point, Savoie was swinging.
The sound of the volleyball banging the gym floor echoed throughout the Loewen Athletic Centre on a big kill. That point cut USB’s first set deficit to one-point. CMU led 15-13, before going on a 6-1-point run — highlighted by two Klassen kills. That scoring run was enough to separate the Blazers and they secured the first set by four points.
The Blazers were serving up aces in the second set. The set was tied 1-1 when the Blazers scored six points in a row, three scored by Chloe Friesen’s serve. CMU put together another scoring run in the second frame — up 12-7, they put up seven more points. Renee Desroches served two aces during the run, and Klassen dove to make a massive dig on a Savoie kill, generating more momentum for her team. The Blazers cruised to a 25-17 set win.
Considering USB’s semi-final win over the Assiniboine Community College Cougars, the Blazers knew they couldn’t sit comfortable with a 2-0 lead.
On Saturday, the Les Rouges were down 2-0, but rallied to win three consecutive sets and advance to the final. With a league best 18-3 record and the league’s MVP, USB was equipped to do it again.
CMU led 9-5 in the third frame, but an 8-2 run fuelled by a Bendu Dukuly ace and another Savoie kill pushed the Les Rouges in front by a score of 13-11 midway through the set. Another comeback was on the horizon, but the Blazers had other thoughts.
Six points later, and CMU was back on top with a 17-13 lead. Edel’s two kills headlined the run, and after that, the Blazers didn’t look back. McTavish put an emphasis on the championship win with back-to-back kills to close out the match.
Blazers captain Klassen finished up her tenure at CMU with her second MCAC championship title.
“I am so thankful for my teammates and coaches,” said Klassen. “Getting to end my career alongside such an amazing group of people is definitely something I will remember and winning with them means that much more.”