Soccer looks to bounce back at home opener
After a draw, a loss and battling 90 degree temperatures last weekend, the Central Michigan soccer team looks to pull out its first victory of the season Friday for its home opener.
The Chippewas (0-1-1) face Robert Morris (0-2) at 3 p.m. Friday at the Soccer/Lacrosse Complex. Head coach Peter McGahey said the team has high expectations for its home field and performing in front of a familiar crowd.
“We’re excited to play in front of Chippewa fans,” he said. “It’ll be at least 30 degrees cooler than what we played in last weekend so the team will certainly be excited for that. We’ll have a hungry Robert Morris team, but we’ll be looking forward to putting out a positive performance.”
CMU opened its season last weekend at the Rock Chalk Invitational in Lawrence, Kansas. Junior Madison Costner scored the first and only goal for the Chippewas off an assist from freshman Sarah Mitchell with 17 minutes to play in the first half. Tulsa answered with 26 minutes remaining in regulation to tie the game.
CMU controlled both overtime periods, holding an 8-1 advantage in shots. The game ended with a 1-1 overtime draw.
On Saturday, Kansas scored three second-half goals to defeat the Chippewas, 3-0.
McGahey praised junior goalkeeper Zoie Reed’s performance in both last weekend’s games. In both games, Reed recorded eight saves a piece to finish the weekend with 16 total saves.
“Zoie has done a good job of moving in on goal,” McGahey said. “She has settled quite nicely back to that full-time starter’s role.”
CMU, which finished 15-3-3 in 2016, was picked to finish second in the Mid-American Conference West Division in a poll of league coaches. Two-time defending division and overall league champion Ball State was picked to win the MAC Tournament.
While winning games is always a point of focus, McGahey emphasized the importance of team leadership and overall chemistry on and off the field.
“For us, the culture is really important,” McGahey said. “We’ve spent a lot of time trying to grow our leadership and setting the foundation for our team. We’ve put a good amount (of work) in that culture, and I know we’ll continue to have positive performances because of it.”