In front of a loud crowd at the Assiniboine Community College Victoria Campus in Brandon, MB, the 2022 Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) Volleyball Championship started the day with a great display by both teams.
The #1 seed Université de Saint-Boniface (USB) Les Rouges defeated #3 Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) Blazers in a five set thriller (25-17, 25-23, 23-25, 23-25, 15-7) at the 2022 MCAC Women’s Volleyball Championship Final on Sunday, March 6.
What a match. In a back and forth affair, the top seed Les Rouges (14-2 regular season record; 2-0 playoffs) found their way to a victory in another five setter this season. This was the fifth time in their season meetings went the distance and the fourth time and most important time that USB came away with the win.
“Every game has been so close this year with CMU as they are a great team,” commented 2021-22 MCAC Coach of the Year and USB’s head coach Evan Turenne. “It is hard to win in this conference and our motto was: Things are worth fighting for is hard to reach. I am so happy to bring back a championship banner.”
USB jumped out to a 2-0 set lead with strong defence and seemed to have all the momentum as they were up 16-8 in the third and then only four points from victory when CMU (9-7 regular season record; 1-1 playoffs) kept hitting away and finally took their first set lead of the match at 22-21 with a couple big kills to extend the contest.
Another close set in the fourth had USB only two points away at 23-21 before the Blazers rattled off the last four points to push it into the deciding set.
The fifth had Les Rouges capitalize on scrambling during long rallies and putting away the crucial points when needed for the championship at 15-7. Les Rouges had avenged their championship loss to CMU in 2020.
CMU’s head coach Jayme Menzies said, “They were able to put the ball away and more kills in the end. We had nothing to lose in the third and very proud of this team throughout and the effort today.”
Championship MVP was USB’s setter Sam Lemoine with 53 assists. She exclaimed afterwards, “What a crazy game! We have gone to the fifth a lot this season and we have been strong in fifth and really knew we could do it.”
USB also had 15 kills apiece from Sophie Morrice and Valeria Gonzalez while CMU was led by their Player of the Game Renee Desroches.
With the conference championship, USB wins the conference championship for first time since 2003 and claims their fourth overall title in program’s history (2001, 2002, 2003, 2022). In addition, Les Rouges now advances as the MCAC representative to the 2022 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Women’s Volleyball National Championship hosted by Holland College in Charlottetown, PEI from March 25-27.
“We are excited and can’t wait for the experience coming up at the Nationals,” said Turenne.
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 vs. #2 PUC Pilots