Soccer wins first home night game in program history, splits weekend series
Bringing a two-game shutout winning streak into Sunday, Central Michigan soccer couldn’t make it three as conference front-runner Ball State capped off the Chippewas’ weekend with a 2-1 loss.
After splitting the weekend against two teams with four-game winning streaks, the Chippewas are 2-2 in Mid-American Conference play and 3-7-1 overall.
With Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green coming to town this Friday and Sunday, the Chippewa offense will need a kick start to get back on track in MAC play.
The team has four total goals in four conference matches, while allowing three to opponents.
“Our (offensive) rhythm at times is really quite good,” said third year Head Coach Peter McGahey. “I think we need to find a little bit of balance between being so width dominant and being able to attack in the center channel, to make sure the team can’t just sit on us, on the width, and make our attack overly predictable.”
McGahey said his team’s ability to bounce back after losses excites him moving forward this season.
“Every time we’ve asked them to respond this season, they’ve responded,” McGahey said. “I told the team, sometimes when you are climbing to the top of a mountain, the hardest last little steps are the time to get over the top. Now, we are saying who will get us over the top — a group of players or player? We’ve got to find that moment now to carry us over the top and say we can be consistently good.”
McGahey said he knows his team is competitive and knows there’s a lot of soccer left to be played this season.
“We just need that final push to get us up onto the top and feel like we can keep climbing,” McGahey said.
Sunday: Ball State 2, Central Michigan 1
The Chippewas only recorded five shots on goal in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Ball State.
After getting down 1-0 early in the second half, Central Michigan freshman forward Alexis Pelafas headed in a bouncing ball in the box to tie the game 1-1 at 58:10.
“I thought we responded well after their goal,” McGahey said. “To come back and take the tying goal about seven minutes later is pretty good.”
Penalties would ultimately doom the Chippewas, however.
At 81:12, Ball State junior Leah Mattingly struck the back of the net on a free kick from 22 yards out.
“Hats off to (Mattingly) who scored on the free kick. It’s quite a good finish and sometime you just have to tip your hat,” McGahey said.
Junior goalkeeper Maddy Bunnell started in net Sunday. Bunnell said she was told she’d be starting five minutes before the game.
Despite losing, Bunnell played well, recording four saves on Ball State’s 13 shots on goal.
“I got a lot of action, but some of it is planned action, which is a smarter way of defending,” Bunnell said. “One thing that is consistent about us is our fight on the back line.”
Friday: Central Michigan 1, Miami (Ohio) 0
Friday night's match was the first home night game in program history and first victory in the new CMU Soccer/Lacrosse Complex.
Facing windy and cold autumn conditions, the Chippewas put forth a quality effort against Miami for CMU's second shutout victory in as many games.
Junior defender Taylor Potts scored the lone goal for CMU.
With 3:22 left on the clock, Potts took the ball into the opposing box and was abruptly knocked to the turf, forcing the referee to call the foul.
Potts scored on the penalty kick for her second goal of the season. It was also the first penalty-kick goal of her collegiate career.
"I went to turn and I kind of jumped because I knew she was sweeping with her leg, but, as I jumped over her foot, she clipped my foot and I just made the best of the play. I knew I wasn't going to get a shot off," Potts said. "I needed to score for my team because if I didn't, the other team was going to get a crazy amount of momentum."
Miami entered Friday's match riding a four-game winning streak with a 6-3-0 (2-0-0 MAC) record while sitting atop the MAC East Division.