Soccer opens new stadium with 2 OT loss to Illinois State

Greg Cornwell | Staff Photographer Junior defender Taylor Potts is sandwiched between the Illinois State defense on the corner kick Sunday afternoon at the CMU Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium. The Chippewas fell to the Redbirds in overtime, 1-0.

After honoring its seniors and the late Josie Seebeck prior to the match, Central Michigan University soccer fell to the Illinois State Redbirds 1-0 in double overtime Sunday.

It was the inaugural game played at CMU’s new synthetic turf soccer/lacrosse stadium.

“On a special day in terms of honoring and paying tribute to some great people and opening an absolutely fantastic facility, I wish the end result had been better,” said Head Coach Peter McGahey. "But I'm really proud of the fight, focus and concentration the team showed."

Though it remained a scoreless tie for most of the game, both teams had a share of scoring opportunities.

CMU had 18 shots, while the Redbirds managed 22, although only seven of Illinois State's shots were on goal.

"The difficulty of the process, as I told the team, is you have a tendency to want success to come on our timeline," McGahey said. "Unfortunately, the reality of it is success comes on its own timeline. You have to continue to have those difficulties and those struggles."

Illinois State scored the winning goal with just over five minutes remaining in the second overtime period.

Making her first start of the season in the net was senior goalkeeper Maddy Bunnell. She made seven saves in the loss.

She was happy to receive the start on senior day but said that was not her lone motivation in protecting the Chippewa net.

"I don't think the glamour of senior day took anything away or added anything more to what we focused on today," Bunnell said. "I really appreciate the way my team stepped up with everything going on today."

Bunnell made seven saves in the double overtime decision, four of which came after the end of regulation.

With the loss, the Chippewas enter conference play at 1-5-1.

"Losses like today are supposed to hurt," McGahey said. "It makes you come back and show grit, determination and resiliency. I know the team has shown over the last three years."

Freshman forward Alexis Pelafas shot the ball six times, leading the team in the process, while junior midfielder Eliza Van de Kerkhove attempted three shots.

The Chippewas will go back on the road to open the Mid-American Conference season for their next match against Western Michigan at 4 p.m. Oct. 2 at the WMU Soccer Complex. WMU is coming off a 1-1 double overtime decision against the Redbirds last Friday.

The rival Broncos stand at 3-2-2 on the season. Both the Chippewas and the Broncos have played against DePaul this season, with WMU falling to the Blue Demons 2-0 on Sept. 11. CMU fell 1-0 two days later.

"It was a hard-fought battle and the outcome wasn't what we wanted," Bunnell said. "We've lost before and we've bounced back before. I know we're going to hit practice this week harder than ever."