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MRU Cougars win first U SPORTS title, take gold in Canada West

MRU Cougars win first U SPORTS title, take gold in Canada West

Toronto, Ontario – There may not be a better soccer city in Canada than Calgary over the past few weeks, as Cavalry FC and the MRU Cougars won their first Canadian Premier League and U SPORTS titles.

While the Knights topped the Division I regular season standings, the MRU Cougars eliminated their playoff demons on Saturday in the Canada West men’s soccer final, defeating the UBC Thunderbirds 1-0 to capture their first title as a program.

Ethan Kane found the back of the net in the 26th minute, advancing the ball before laying it off to Josh Flaxman, who crossed into the box, which UBC’s Bennett McKay headed into Kane’s path, opening the scoring.

While early, the goal proved to be a crucial point, as the Cougars went on to claim their first title after being the best team in the Prairie Division the past four seasons, topping the regular season again in 2023.

Rookie goalkeeper Aidan Dumoulin stopped six shots for his 11th goal in all competitions this season, as the Cougars kept UBC, whose 40 goals scored as the regular season’s top offensive team, off the scoresheet.

Kane, the top scorer, was the 2021 CPL-U SPORTS Draft Pick of Cavalry FC. Meanwhile, UBC has experienced CPL players in former Pacific FC defenders Chris Lee and Eric Laguenesse.

(MRU Cougars)

UBC’s loss ends a five-season streak of winning the Canada West Conference and will send them to the U SPORTS Championship as the No. 2 seed in Canada West, while MRU takes home the No. 1 seed and a top-four seed.

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For MRU head coach Ryan Giacki, who took over the program in 2014, that proved to be a vital sign, as outreach to international student-athletes proved to be a successful strategy, bringing down a UBC program he had long admired.

The Cougars and Thunderbirds travel to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, for U SPORTS National Championship Along with host CBU Capers, AUS champion StFX X-Men, OUA qualifiers York and Carlton, RSEQ UQTR qualifiers and Montreal.

The national championship kicks off Thursday on CBC Sports, with full coverage from 49 sports.

The defending U SPORTS champion TRU Wolfpack were unable to advance past the first round of the Western Canada playoffs.


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