Blazers Women Cap Undefeated Season with CPAC
By Paul Crosby
Unlike the New England Patriots, who lost the Super Bowl earlier this month,
the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) women's volleyball team capped off their
undefeated season by winning the annual Central Plains Athletic Conference
|Blazers women's volleyball team with the
championship banner and trophy
The Blazers women defeated Brandon's Assiniboine Commu-nity College (ACC)
February 9 at College Universitaire de Saint-Boniface (CUSB). After losing the
first two sets 27-29, 21-25, the Blazers rallied to take final three sets 25-14,
25-13, and 15-11.
On the men’s side, the Blazers finished fourth. Josh Krueger and Jeordie Ker
of CMU were named to the men's all-star team.
Both teams began their quest for a title on Friday against the host school.
The women encountered no resistance from a winless CUSB squad en route to a
straight-set semi-final win by scores of 25-17, 25-15, 25-16.
The men, however, found themselves in a dogfight for the right to advance to
the finals, and despite a passionate effort, fell short in the fifth and
deciding set, losing 25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 16-25, 15-11.
In Saturday’s third place game, the dispirited men’s team, coming off an
emotional loss the day before, came out flat and went down quickly and quietly
to ACC in straight sets, 25-21, 25-21, 25-22. As the game wore on, it was clear
that CMU could not match the intensity level of the ACC men; the end result
showed that they had left their hearts on the floor the day before.
When the women’s final began, few realized what a brilliant, energetic and
exciting match would transpire. After all, the CMU women, with their perfect
season, seemed poised to take the championship. But somebody forgot to tell the
ACC women’s team that they were heavy underdogs. They scrambled and fought to
stay in every point, digging up almost everything the bigger CMU hitters were
throwing at them.
The more ACC hung around, the more uptight the CMU women looked. Before
anyone could say “Giant upset,” ACC was up 2-0 in the match. This put CMU in
unfamiliar territory, since no match they played in this year had gone to five
sets. But if they wanted to be league champions, this one would have to go that
|CPAC volleyball All-Stars from CMU: Kalon Bergen, Jeordie
Ker, Joshua Krueger, Dara Friesen (also league MVP).
The CMU team found their game in the third set. Led by Dara Friesen and a
very emotional Kathleen Vitt, the Blazers started taking the play aggressively
to ACC. Vitt, the setter, looked as though she was putting the team on her
shoulders, trying to take them to a championship through her own sheer
The third and fourth sets were not close, but the scrappy ACC team took the
deciding set to 11-11 before CMU tightened up and rolled off four straight
points for a very emotional and satisfying championship victory.
“We came out pretty nervous, and so it kind of showed in the first two sets,”
said Kalon Bergen after the match. “And then we kind of just realized that we
needed to bring all the work from this past season out on the court, so we did
that and we came back. It was amazing.”
Added Vitt: “We came out on our heels, and they were playing well. We came
out tentative and were nervous on the court, and so we just really needed to
settle in and give ourselves a shake and say, ‘Okay guys, this is our game. We
need to get out here and play to win.’”
On being named the Tournament MVP, Vitt said that “it’s a great feeling, but
the victory’s better. We’re such a family. We’re not only teammates but we’re
all friends and we all hang out. The MVP is a very nice compliment but it
doesn’t hold as much weight as winning it with these girls.”
At the Friday night awards banquet, Dara Friesen of CMU was named league MVP
on the women’s side. Two CMU players, Kalon Bergen and Dara Friesen, were named
to the women's all-star team, while Josh Krueger and Jeordie Ker of CMU were
named to the men's all-star team.
This is the second volleyball championship for the CMU women; in November
they won the inaugural Association of Christian College Athletics (ACCA)
volleyball championship in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Members of the women’s team are Dara Friesen, of Rosthern, Sask.; Nikki
Mercier, Vanessa Wiens and Hannah Pratt of Winnipeg; Allison Driedger and Ashley
Miller of Saskatoon; Kirsten Hamm of Neubergthal, Man.; Heather Schellenberg of
Kitchener, Ont.; Kalon Bergen of Beausejour, Man.; and Rachel Funk of Jordan,
See videos from the women's championship on YouTube!
to see CMU come back from an 8-6 deficit in the fifth set to defeat Assiniboine College 15-11. Click here to see Dara Friesen show her MVP form with timely hits and serves to bring CMU even at 2-2 with Assiniboine College in the fourth game of their championship match.
Posted February 11, 2008. Updated February 12,
For more information contact CMU Communications Director, 500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, Manitoba R3P 2N2, telephone: 204-487-3300 ext. 630, fax: 204-889-1694, (www.cmu.ca)