Slow start plagues soccer as Chippewas miss MAC Tournament

Senior midfielder Emily Cooksey moves the ball down the field during the Chippewas

Finishing 6-11-2 on the season, the Central Michigan University women’s soccer team nearly qualified for the 2014 Mid-American Conference Tournament.

A season after finishing MAC play undefeated, the Chippewas were 4-6-1 in the MAC this fall.

Although the numbers stack against CMU, the Chippewas made a miraculous turn-around during the second half of the season, which almost earned them a spot in the postseason tournament.

“We didn’t accomplish some of the things we set out to do,” Head Coach Peter McGahey said. “But in terms of outcome, we will look back at this season as foundation forming.”

CMU was 1-5 in their first six matches, and finished their final five at 3-1-1.

The Chippewas ended 2014 on a four-game unbeaten streak and were not scored on during their final eight hours of playing time.

“The end of the season was determined by the start of our MAC season,” McGahey said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t overcome that start even with a run at the end.”

The Three Seniors

Forwards Laura Gosse, Emily Cooksey and Jennifer “Bea” Gassman showed their leadership this fall.

Gosse was named second team All-MAC and had more goals, shots and shots on goal than any other Chippewa in 2014. Gosse tallied three game-winners during the season.

Cooksey, second behind Gosse in shots and shots on goal, led the team in assists. Cooksey also scored two while assisting two in her final season.

Gassman scored two goals this season. Both were game-winners.

“Collectively as a class, you have a very interesting legacy that this class will leave,” McGahey said. “They have been through all the elements of college soccer. They have seen the highest of highs in terms of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament and MAC Championships. They have been through the struggles and difficulties of change, players like Bea who have been here for five years have played under three coaches.”Cooksey was the leading scorer last season. She was injured for the first part of the season this year. Through rehabilitation of her form, she accepted the role she found herself in as the Chippewas battled through losses.

Gosse finished in the Top 10 in scoring in CMU history this year.

Typically a center forward, Gosse was asked to play midfield.

A crucial keeper change

Part of the Chippewas midseason turnaround was due to a critical coaching move.

McGahey benched goalkeeper Maddy Bunnell in favor sophomore Heather Laeufer.

Laeufer ended her season without letting in a single goal in nearly eight hours, managing five clean sheets in 2014.

Inheriting a 2-8-1 record as she started her first game, Laeufer allowed six goals after being given an opportunity.

The defensive unit in front of Leaufer clicked.

Kaylin Hoomaian, a sophomore with experience played well.

Freshman Savannah Beetcher, a Boulder Colo.-native, made her presence known by starting all but two games and every conference match in 2014.

Other highlights

Kaelyn Korte was another Chippewa that made a huge impact this fall.

Korte’s ability to play in the offensive and defensive third helped the team's transitional periods.

She will be regarded as arguably CMU’s best returning senior in 2015.

CMU struggled to find the net early in 2014.

It took the women 16 matches to score more than two goals in a game.

As a team, CMU was outshot by opponents by a margin of 121 shots.

The Chippewas scored 18 goals this fall. Opponents nearly doubled that figure.

Despite the slanted statistics, McGahey said Chippewas fans have a lot to look forward to in the coming soccer years.

“I am looking forward to the continued growth next season,” he said. “I feel that the foundation of understanding how we want to play is rolling within the team. The fire is burning between the staff and the players for more next season.”