Blazers win 2020 MCAC Men’s Futsal Championship

Ryan Jensen and Will Anderson each scored two goals in the Canadian Mennonite University Blazers 5-1 championship win over the host Brandon University Bobcats on Sunday.

The MCAC awarded Jensen with the final four MVP award following the game, and Jensen said it’s hard to put into words what winning a championship in his final game at CMU means to him.

“Honestly, I was in tears,” said Jensen post-game. “… I have no words. I’m just so emotional right now and it’s just awesome.”

BU opened play with a three-minute sequence of Corbin Glufka and Adam Hay passing back and forth in front of their own goal. Eventually, CMU went on the attack and their aggressive play got them on the score board in the 10th minute.

Jensen controlled the ball outside the Bobcats’ box and fired a shot through traffic. The ball deflected off a BU defender and found its way to the back of the net.

Ryan Jensen celebrates with CMU fans after scoring the games opening goal. MILANA PADDOCK

The Blazers continued to attack and extended their lead in the 16th minute of the game. Anderson received a pass in front of the BU net and pounded his shot to the bottom right corner, past league MVP and BU goalkeeper William Tonning.

Two minutes later, Jensen one-timed a lob pass inside the Bobcats’ box, slamming the ball to the bottom left corner of the goal.

The Blazers led 3-0 at the half, and Blazers head coach Anderson Pereira said having an early lead was important and they could game plan accordingly.

“It was really good for us,” said Pereira. “… we know how to adapt to situations.”

CMU gets revenge and wins the MCAC title after losing to BU in last year’s futsal championship. MILANA PADDOCK

CMU expected an early push from BU to start the second half, and all-conference defender Akim Johnston tried to start that push with his goal in the 4th minute. Johnston was in the right place at the right time and deflected a ball past CMU goalkeeper Caleb Jutzi.

The home crowd was rocking after the Bobcats goal, but Jensen said the team knew what they had to do to keep momentum from shifting completely to the BU side.

“We went down a goal, and as soon as we get the ball back and we’re playing our game again, we’re getting good opportunities. We’re getting good shots,” said Jensen.

The Blazers quickly got one of those good opportunities and responded with a goal two minutes after Johnston’s tally.

Akim Johnston scored BU’s only goal of the match. MILANA PADDOCK

Jensen passed back to Anderson on a kick-in in the offensive zone. Anderson controlled the pass and fired a rocket from outside the box. The shot was so strong it knocked Tonning over and found the back of the net.

Victor Hugo added an insurance goal in the 15th minute of the second half. He drilled a shot to the right side of the net, beating Tonning on a shot from the side of the goal.

From there, CMU focused on defence and they took away shooting lanes for the majority of the half, limiting BU’s high-quality scoring chances. Jutzi also made a number of big stops in the final minutes of the match.

“It’s just the intensity that they bring on the court and how calm every single person is on that ball,” said Jensen.

Team captains Ryan Jensen (left) and Aidan Beckingham (right) raise the championship trophy and banner. MILANA PADDOCK

The championship win comes a year following CMU’s loss to BU in last year’s final. Pereira said it’s nice to get the win over them and that it has become a “healthy rivalry.”

“There is no violent conduct from the players from either team,” said Pereira. “We’re fighting for every tackle, but no one is being mean.”

The Loewen Athletic Centre will be decked out with four 2019-20 championship banners after they won women’s basketball, men’s volleyball, women’s volleyball and now, men’s futsal this season. 

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