In front of a loud and full house at the Assiniboine Community College Victoria Campus in Brandon, MB, the 2022 MCAC Volleyball Men’s Championship ended the day with both semi final matches on Saturday, March 5.
The top seeded CMU Blazers make it back to the championship final as the defending champs with a straight set win while PUC Pilots battle to a hard fought four setter victory.
Both teams will now meet in the championship final on Sunday, March 6 at 3 p.m. CT.
#1 CMU Blazers vs. #4 USB Les Rouges
The # 1 seed Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) Blazers (12-4 regular season record) survived a first set scare and then rolled to a straight set win over the #4 seed Université de Saint-Boniface (USB) Les Rouges (4-12 regular season record) in the first semi final match of the day by a 26-24, 25-18, 25-17 score.
After a tough first set that had USB push CMU to the max, the Blazers prevailed 26-24 and used that momentum to win the next two sets with more ease. The story was 2021-22 MCAC All-Conference Kaylen Desmarais-Joseph injury midway through the first set that changed some of the complexion for the rest of this playoff contest.
“The injury changed the game for us. Kaylen is the best overall player for us and drives the team,” stated 2021-22 MCAC Coach of the Year Riel Guénette. “I give the players 100% credit to battle to the bitter end but fell short. CMU was the better team today.”
Marc Grant and Caleb Dupras led the way for Les Rouges with eight kills each. 2021-22 MCAC All-Conference CMU players Cameron Gayleard and Matthew Page were top for the Blazers with eight and seven kills each while another All-Conference award winner Timothy Juvonen had 36 assists along with four kills at the setter position.
CMU’s head coach Don Dulder was reflected after the match, “I tried to recruit Kaylen and it was a big loss for USB. It would have been a tougher match with him playing. We played well and exploited the middle as we have lots of options on offence.”
CMU now has a chance to defend their conference title when they last won in 2020. Dulder continued,” It is a big deal to go to Nationals and we want it real bad to be the first representative for MCAC to go.”
Player of the Match for CMU was setter Timothy Juvonen while middle Dany Dupuis was selected for ACC.
#2 PUC Pilots vs. #3 ACC Cougars
The second match was quite the battle. The #2 Providence University College (PUC) Pilots (12-4 regular season record) needed four sets (24-26, 25-22, 25-19, 25-21) to win over the #3 seed Assiniboine Community College (ACC) Cougars (4-12 regular season record).
The first set was back-and-forth as ACC came back from three down late and captured the set 26-24. In the second, the Pilots started strong and took the lead late with a couple of big kills and evened the match at one with a 25-22 second set score.
Providence started to pull away, ever so slightly, in the third as they won the crucial final points with some big defence and a deft kick to keep a point alive for the 24th point. In the fourth, both teams kept hammering’ away and a couple of key kills at the end had PUC end up with the ‘W’.
“It was a great atmosphere and we knew it would be tough to play with the rowdy crowd,” stated PUC’s head coach Cody Quiring. “Hats off to ACC as we could not stop Carter Beattie. I was proud of how we outlasted and kept our composure during crunch time today.”
In the battle of the 2021-22 MCAC Co-MVP, both players acquitted themselves very well. ACC Carter Beattie had a match-high 18 kills and four blocks while PUC’s Austin Anderson added 16 kills and 1.5 blocks in the win.
ACC’s head coach Joel Small said, “The guys played hard and we were in the mix throughout. It was a back-and-forth affair and a great effort in front of our home fans. This is something we will build on for next year.”
PUC also had 12 kills from Jonas Friesen and 2021-22 MCAC All-Conference Nick Friesen registered four kills, two aces and 2.5 blocks. The Cougars had Vaughn Zimmer with eight kills.
Another rematch from 2020. CMU faces off against PUC and the Pilots look to reverse the result for this year. “We will be ready to play as CMU is a well coached team and looking forward to the match.”
Player of the Match for PUC was middle Nick Friesen and left side Carter Beattie was named for ACC.
The 2022 MCAC Women’s Volleyball Championship Final will be play at Assiniboine Community College Victoria Campus with first serve at 1 p.m. CT on Sunday, March 6 in Brandon.
2022 MCAC Volleyball Championship hosted by ACC in Brandon, MB
Saturday, March 5 (all times are Central Time)
12 p.m. SF: #1 USB Les Rouges 3 #4 ACC Cougars 0 (women’s match)
2 p.m. SF: #3 CMU Blazers 3 #2 PUC Pilots 0 (women’s match)
4 p.m. SF: #1 CMU Blazers 3 #4 USB Les Rouges 0 (men’s match)
6 p.m. SF: #2 PUC Pilots 3 #3 ACC Cougars 1 (men’s match)
Sunday, March 6
1 p.m. Women’s Volleyball Championship Final: #1 USB Les Rouges vs. #3 CMU Blazers
3 p.m. Men’s Volleyball Championship Final: #1 CMU Blazers vs. #2 PUC Pilots
Live webcast for all Championship matches at: https://www.youtube.com/ACCCougars