The Futsal community is alive and well in Manitoba – and if you don’t believe it, then you must not have been at Canadian Mennonite University on Sunday for the 2015 MCAC Futsal Championships.
In front of a raucous crowd, the Providence Pilots women’s team defended their 2014 title with an 8-7 win against Red River, followed by the home team CMU Blazers satisfying their fans with an emotional 6-4 victory against Université de Saint-Boniface.
Back-and-fourth would be the best way to describe the women’s final between Providence and Red River College. The first half of play saw seven goals scored, capped off by a nifty move from Karla Henuset in front to put the Rebels up 4-3 going into the second half.
It was in the second where the Pilots really started clicking, but not before Elizabeth Codville potted one in tight to extend the lead to 5-3. From there, Providence knew they needed to turn things around quick, and that’s when Jessica Gzebb and Tournament MVP Julika Kehler came alive. Feeding on the chemistry they’ve had all season, Gzebb scored the final three goals for Providence, two of which were orchestrated by some incredible passing by Kehler.
The dynamic duo’s play in the second half was perhaps the difference, as Providence found their first lead of the game at 7-6. The Pilots never turned back, with Providence outlasting the Rebels in this thriller of a game to bring home their second straight MCAC Futsal Championship. Leading the way in scoring for Providence was Gzebb with four goals and Kehler with two, while Castro and Codville both had a pair for the Rebels.
The scoring pace may have been different in the men’s final, but that certainly didn’t effect the excitement level as fans witnessed a fantastic rematch from the 2014 Finals between Saint-Boniface and the home team Blazers.
It took until half way through the first half before anyone got on the board, as CMU’s Imran Karama crammed it off the defender and in for the first lead of the game. For the next ten minutes, the game became a goaltending dual as both Evan Balzer and Mahamadou Fofana traded incredible saves, diving across their crease and keeping it a one-goal game.
However, as the first half went into stopped time, Saint-Boniface finally found the back of the net as Seifeddine Dhaoui scored alone in front, just thirty seconds before CMU scored yet again on a Simon Dueck breakaway to end the half with a 2-1 lead.
Saint Boniface came out flying in the second half, as Yahia Chihab leaped into the air to tip in the team’s second of the game to tie it up. This however, would be the closest the Les Rouges would come to victory – as the Blazers found another gear in the latter half of the second. Lead by two clutch goals from Andrew Letkeman, and stellar play by Tournament MVP Jonah Langelotz, the Blazers were just too much for the defending champions. After the Blazers scored on a penalty kick, the game was sealed and the clock expired with CMU on top – officially crowning them the 2015 MCAC Futsal Champions.
Women’s Final – 2:00 p.m.
Providence University College vs Red River College
Providence University College wins 8-7
Men’s Final – 3:30 p.m.
Université de Saint-Boniface vs Canadian Mennonite University
Canadian Mennonite University wins 6-4
Story and photos courtesy Joey Traa-MCAC