Even though the Manhattanville Valiants were riding a ten-game unbeaten streak, even though they won the MAC regular season championship, even though they were fresh off knocking off second-seeded Elmira in a semi-finals mini-game tiebreaker, Manhattanville was not the favorite going into the UCHC Tournament finals. That distinction went to top-seeded, defending champion Utica.
Utica had been a thorn in Manhattanville’s side the previous six years.
None of it mattered in the finals, however, as Manhattanville won another mini-game tiebreaker to win its first conference tournament championship since 2010.
“We knew we were an underdog because Utica is a great team,” Valiants head coach Arlen Marshall said. “They finished at the top of the conference for a reason. To be honest, we used it as fuel. Everyone was talking about Utica’s record in the last ten games, and what their home record was, and how they hadn’t lost a conference game. It brought a smile to me because the more that came up, it was more fuel for our guys to go out there and perform.”