Women’s soccer coach Peter McGahey could not recall such tragedy and heartbreak on a team he has led in the more than 10 years he has been coaching college soccer.
But McGahey said the Chippewas are responding well to the unprecedented circumstances thrown at them recently.
Sophomore midfielder Josie Seebeck died Aug. 4 following a car accident near Lansing.
On Aug. 2, Seebeck was traveling with fellow sophomore midfielder Christen Chiesa and freshman goalkeeper Maddy Bunnell, both of whom have been released from the hospital. McGahey can’t comment on the extent of their injuries.
“The magnitude of a tragedy such as this is so immense,” McGahey said. “We haven’t changed our mindset on our season, though. We are getting through this together, and it will take some time.”
With the Chippewas’ first and only exhibition of the year at home against Michigan State quickly approaching Sunday at 5 p.m., McGahey said he is balancing preparation with mental rehabilitation in the wake of tragedy on his team.
“We want to focus on the safety and well-being of our student-athletes both mentally and physically as the season goes on,” he said. “But, we have games coming up here at the end of this month, and we have a job to do.”
McGahey is in his first year as head coach at CMU. He previously coached the Minnesota State University women’s soccer team, where he finished with a career record of 74-21-13 and earned the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Coach of the Year Award in 2012.
The Chippewas boast a daunting non-conference schedule in 2013, one year after becoming the first Mid-American Conference team to receive an at-large bid in the NCAA soccer tournament.
“We have to ask ourselves: Is this the only adversity we are going to face this season? No,” McGahey said. “The MAC historically has been very competitive, and we are going to run the MAC race as well as we can.”
CMU finished 10-2 in MAC play last season.
McGahey said while he does not have his starters determined for the season opener against Detroit on Aug. 25 at 5 p.m., fans should expect to see junior goalkeeper Grace Labrecque defending the net against the Spartans.
“We’ve got a really good group this year,” McGahey said. “It’s just been a very complex situation here lately. We are still advancing. We are going to follow the culture that is in place here.
“That’s the Chippewa way.”