Soccer freshmen excite in preseason draw with Michigan State


Freshman forward Madison Pogarch controls the ball against a Michigan State University defender at Bennett Field in an exhibition game Aug. 13

In what could have been the final match at Central Michigan University Soccer’s Bennett Soccer Field, the Chippewas managed a 0-0 draw with the Michigan State Spartans. 

It was the first of two preseason exhibition matches for the Chippewas, with its second being Sunday at Valparaiso. Head Coach Peter McGahey started four of his 11 freshman in what was an abnormal match, with four 25-minute quarters rather than two 45-minute halves. Goalkeeper Zoie Reed, forward’s Alexis Pelafas and (F) Madison Pogarch and defender Mary Carlson were the four newcomers starting for CMU.

“We’re six days in now to training camp," McGahey said. "I thought it was a good, collective team effort. Basically our entire roster I thought was really good, from the seniors all the way down to the freshmen.”

Like most preseason matches, McGahey rotated players in and out in preparation for the season opener Aug. 23 at Oakland University. 

CMU finished 2014 6-11-2 and 4-6-1 in Mid-American Conference play. The Spartans ended their 2014 campaign 9-9-1, struggling in conference play finishing with three wins in 13 games. 

Despite the 0-0 result, the freshman were impressive in their first performance, showing poise and composure with the ball in their inaugural collegiate match. 

“I think these kinds of games are really important because they really kind of do prepare you for the season,” McGahey said. “You learn a lot about your team in terms of who goes where, the positions they play, who can play in the high pressure situations and sort of getting the nerves of college soccer away because basically now every one of our players has played a college soccer game.”

Construction noise droned in the background, building the new turf complex in which the Chippewas will play once the building is finished this fall.

Most of the play started from the wide positions, outside backs and wings which worked the ball into the midfield, opening up the center of the pitch. It is a style that last year’s squad struggled to achieve as many chances came from the outside.

“I think the piece that was really good (for the freshman) was the style that we want to play," McGahey said.

Central Michigan University will see the pitch for their final preseason exhibition game against Valparaiso at 4 p.m. on Sunday in Valparaiso, Indiana.