Courtesy: Brandon University News Release
BRANDON – The Brandon University women's soccer team is looking to score the program's first Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) championship this weekend in Winnipeg.
The Bobcats are back at the MCAC Final Four for the third consecutive year following an undefeated regular season. The team finished with a 7-0-3 record, good for second place in the standings. Brandon outscored their opponents 40-5 in the process to punch their ticket for the playoffs with major momentum.
"I think the team is better and we play a better type of soccer," said coach Rainer Schira. "We have confidence in every single player, we have confidence in the coaches to establish the game plan and we have confidence in the players to execute it. We should be able to peak at the right time."
"We are really close as a team," said second-year midfielder Allison Cruse. "The first game of the season we were confident in what we were doing and we knew we were going to make it to the top-two in the league."
The first opponent standing in Brandon's way of reaching the MCAC mountaintop is St. Boniface in the semifinals at 12 p.m. on Saturday. The Bobcats swept the two head-to-head meetings by blanking their opponents 2-0 and 3-0.
In the other semifinal, the top-ranked and tournament host Red River Rebels play the Providence Pilots. The winners meet for all the MCAC marbles at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
"Going into this we are focused on the next game, we do not focus on the final and the next game is the semi," added Schira. "We have to play our game and then worry about the final."
Brandon is coming off a runner-up finish a year-ago for the league title. BU dropped a hard-fought 2-1 decision against Red River in the final last season. The heartbreaking end to 2015 has the battle-tested Bobcats motivated for more.
"We were up with 10 minutes left and we lost the game," recalled Schira. "I think our players will take that and try to turn it into a positive. They have been there, they have the experience and they know they can win this."
"I think we are really strong," added Cruse. "I think we have really improved the mental aspects of the game together and we have realized how to be positive with each other. We are in a good position going in."
Meanwhile, the BU men's soccer team narrowly missed the post-season. The Bobcats finished tied for fourth and the final playoff spot with Providence, but missed out due to the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Pilots.