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Pilots welcoming college rivals to futsal championship this weekend
Providence will host the 2017 Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference futsal championship on Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12.
The competition, also known as the Copa de la Paz, or Peace Cup, will bring the Brandon University Bobcats, Canadian Mennonite University Blazers and Red River College Rebels to Otterburne, and the host Pilots will also be involved in both the women’s and men’s brackets.
“Futsal is an exciting and growing sport in Manitoba, and the MCAC showcases a high level of competition within this sport,” says Scott Masterson, Director of Athletics at Providence. “Every team participating in the tournament this weekend has a legitimate chance of winning.”
On the women’s side the Pilots will face the Blazers in a Saturday semi-final (3:00 p.m.), and after guiding his team to a third-place finish during the regular season head coach Tory Walker is counting on his players to out-work the opposition.
“We’ve competed with the best teams this year and have come out with some good results, and we split our games with CMU,” he says, adding that he believes the hard work put in during the season will pay off on Saturday. “Hopefully,” he adds, “we can have a lot of people turn out to cheer us on because we thrive off that.”
The Bobcats and Rebels will play a 1:00 p.m. semi-final on Saturday, and the final will kick-off Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
The Pilots men, too, will take on CMU on Saturday (4:30 p.m.) in a rematch of a thrilling March 3 contest that ended 5-5. The winner will face either Brandon or Red River on Sunday at 3:30 p.m., and head coach Joey Passi predicts a “super-competitive” championship.
“The gym here at Prov is going to be a madhouse, but I believe our team has grown to the point where they have what it takes,” he says. “We got off to a rough start, but just like during the outdoor season we showed we had the character to claw ourselves into the post-season.”
Passi is also bullish about futsal, generally, pointing out that the MCAC is one of the few college-level organizations in North America that plays the sport in a legitimized format, alongside the likes of basketball and volleyball.
“Futsal is the world’s official version of what is known as ‘street soccer’,” he explains. “There are few sports that rival the intensity and skill level required to compete in it.”
Masterson is hopeful the local community will come to Providence to sample the sport and cheer on the Pilots.
“We’re excited to host the futsal championship,” he says. “We hope people will enjoy the high level of play that will be on display.”


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