Women’s soccer gained momentum this weekend by winning its first two Mid-American Conference games at Kent State (1-0) on Friday and Ohio (2-1) on Sunday.
On Sunday, the Chippewas came out aggressively and were able to get into a rhythm on offense, with four shots in the first 14 minutes of the game to go along with two first half goals.
“We never stopped playing,” said head coach Peter McGahey. “We kept working and did the things we needed to do to win.”
CMU finished with 13 shots (nine on goal) and a stingy defense, which held the Bobcats to two shots on goal (seven total).
Junior midfielder Emily Cooksey added three shots on goal in the game, giving her 12 this season.
Junior goalkeeper Grace Labrecque recorded one save in her fifth start of the season, proving to be a senior leader.
“I thought she was composed and confident,” McGahey said. “She wasn’t rattled out there. That is what senior elite level goaltenders can do. The composure and grace she plays with really helps this team.”
After Ohio scored in the 19th minute, CMU responded with a goal of its own two minutes later.
Sophomore midfielder Kaelyn Korte scored her first goal this season in the 21st minute on an assist from junior forward Laura Gosse.
“Grace saved the penalty kick, Ohio scored, and then we responded with a goal,” McGahey said. “That goal speaks to the resiliency of our team.”
CMU would grab the lead heading into halftime after Cooksey scored in the 34th minute, which proved to be the game-winning goal.
The defense and goaltending has been consistent for the Chippewas this season, but it’s been the offense struggling to get into a rhythm.
In the first half, the Chippewas had nine shots (seven on goal), while the Bobcats were limited to only two shots on goal.
“There is a powerful thing that is starting to develop with our team defensively,” McGahey said. “We have a really good collective spirit in understanding it takes a whole team to defend. The concepts we have been putting into games are starting to apply under the pressure of playing really good teams.”
A pair of firsts put the Chippewas ahead when junior forward Morgan Wilcoxon scored her first goal in the 36th minute off senior midfielder Tory Kinniard’s first assist of the season.
“It’s always important to get the second season off on the right foot,” McGahey said. “We took two good steps. We had a good performance to start the conference season against a very good Kent State squad. Part of getting off on the right step is seeing results and beating a good team on the road.”
Defense was strong again in CMU’s first Mid-American Conference game, only allowing six shots on goal for the Golden Eagles. Grace Labrecque was solid in the net, with six saves on 21 shots for her fifth career shutout.
CMU was able to take advantage of early scoring chances.
McGahey said having only three shots on goal was not an indication of how well the team played on offense with chances created in the game by pressure.
“We really earned that one. It was a good goal scored during the run of play,” McGahey said. ”I thought we created good chances today. I felt like we were able to keep Kent State under enough pressure to keep them honest.”
Offensively, the Golden Eagles came out strong, recording four shots in the first 11 minutes of play and eight shots in the first half.
Focusing on the game at hand will be important as the season progresses.
“Here at CMU women’s soccer, we focus on one game at a time,” McGahey said. “We’re 1-0 today, which is great, but we have to focus our attention on Ohio Sunday.”
CMU will head home this week to face Western Michigan on Friday at 4 p.m. and Eastern Michigan on Sunday at 1 p.m.