In front of a pumped up and standing room only crowd at the Assiniboine Community College Victoria Campus in Brandon, MB, the 2022 Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) Volleyball Championship finished with a fantastic battle by both teams.
The #1 seed Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) Blazers defeated #2 seed Providence University College (PUC) Pilots in a four set victory (25-22, 12-25, 25-20, 25-18) at the 2022 MCAC Men’s Volleyball Championship Final on Sunday, March 6
A great match between the top two teams in the MCAC this season along with a rematch from both 2019 and 2020 championship which saw both programs win a title each year. This was rubber match and it did not disappoint.
The first two sets were a tale of totally different momentum as CMU (12-4 regular season record; 2-0 playoffs) kept firing and won a close 25-22 in the first and then PUC (12-4 regular season record; 1-1 playoffs) responded with a convincing 25-12 second, after a delay for CMU’s setter Timothy Juvonen had to change his jersey. In the third, CMU bounced back with some strong net play to win 25-20.
There was numerous lead changes in the fourth as no team could get too far ahead until the end. The Blazers kept control of the net with a couple key blocks, service aces and kills to expand and then capture the fourth and title by a 25-18 fourth set margin.
An emotional CMU’s head coach Don Dulder tried to summarize the match, “It was big coming back in the third and showed the character of this team. They guys responded well and picked up their passing and that led to more options on offence going forward.”
CMU was led by Championship MVP setter Timothy Juvonen with 39 assists and two kills along with Josh Werbiski added 11 kills and Cameron Gayleard with seven kills in the win.
Juvonen commented on the win and jersey change, “I kinda laughed off the jersey and shook it off. We passed better and the team battled through it all today. It is so huge to win and to be first MCAC rep at Nationals as it will be special for us and the league.”
PUC fell short in their bid to win but held the heads high with the effort and the whole result this 2021-22 season. Pilots head coach Cody Quiring said, “Hats off to CMU. They got the points when they needed to. I thought we passed well against some tough servers and we will cheer on CMU at the Nationals.”
This was the sixth season meeting between the two and CMU won the last four times.
With the conference championship, CMU defends their conference win in 2020 and claims their fourth overall title in program’s history (2017, 2018, 2020, 2022). In addition, the Blazers now advances as the MCAC representative to the 2022 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men’s Volleyball National Championship hosted by Cégep Limoilou in Quebec City, QC from March 25-27.
Dulder realized the impact of the championship victory, “This is huge. We wanted to take this team to the Nationals and have our team experience all of it. Plus, we have the first crack from MCAC and proud of that accomplishment.”
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 3 #3 CMU Blazers 2
3 p.m. Men’s Volleyball Championship Final: #1 CMU Blazers 3 #2 PUC Pilots 1