Soccer ends regular season with loss; MAC Tournament to begin Sunday


Dublin, Ohio freshman Madison Costner dribbles the ball during CMU's home soccer game on Thursday, October 29, 2015 at Central Michigan University's Soccer Complex

Fans were bundled up Thursday as they withstood the cold October winds to watch Central Michigan soccer play its final regular season game of 2015.

With the potential for home-field advantage in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament on the line, the Chippewas (6-10-2, 5-5-1 MAC) fell to Toledo (9-11-0, 5-6-0 MAC) 2-0.

After winning 2-1 over Ohio Sunday, Central Michigan’s offense couldn't stay hot, only creating six shots on goal—half of Toledo’s total.

“If you’re rating overall, I don’t think today’s performance was very good,” said Central Michigan Head Coach Peter McGahey. “I thought our sharpness at moments was good, but collectively we had a hard time handling Toledo’s pressure. Toledo did a good job of knocking us out of our rhythm."

The Rockets registered their first goal at 33:09 in the first period. Toledo freshman forward Italia Biondi lofted a shot from 20 yards out that beat the outstretched hands of freshman goalkeeper Zoie Reed.

The second goal was added at 70:17 when the Rockets took advantage of a defensive miscue in the box. Toledo’s Lauren Taylor put the game out of reach, beating an out-of-position Reed.

“If you played backwards, (Toledo) jumps and pressed that ball,” McGahey said about the second goal. “We make a pass. They knock the ball and then it becomes a scramble for the second goal. The challenge was we didn’t break their pressure pocket well enough and what I’d call played into the teeth of their press.”

At 16 points in conference play, the Chippewas would have had a first round home playoff game with a win and a Kent State (21 points) loss to Ohio, but neither happened.

“I thought we put enough emphasize on the game today to try and capitalize,” McGahey said. “We certainly did not sit back and say ‘Hey, we’re happy in sixth (place), we’re happy to be in the playoffs.’ We went out today and tried to respect the game and give the game a good effort.”

McGahey said despite ending the regular season with a loss, Thursday’s result has no effect on Sunday’s game.

“The motivation is to really put a good performance out,” he said. “I think we’ve had a character within the team that we have responded all season in terms of the adversity, difficulties and performances that haven’t gone the way we wanted. Soccer wise, when we’re on and do what we do, we’re a handful.”

Junior defenseman Taylor Potts and junior midfielder Eliza Van de Kerkhove saw limited action in the second period. McGahey said Potts’s lower body injury is his biggest health concern heading into playoffs.

Junior backup goalkeeper Maddy Bunnell said the team looked at their final home game as just a normal game.

"We went into (the game) with an understanding," Bunnell said. "We really tried to focus on viewing it as another game and Toledo as another opponent. We needed to come out and play our best. (Playoffs) are a clean slate in the MAC and there's no bearing on what happened in our game today on the game Sunday."

Seniors Kristen Knutson, Tara Togami and Kaelyn Korte all played their final regular season soccer game Thursday in Mount Pleasant. 

The team will be the sixth seed in the eight-team MAC Tournament, traveling to Buffalo Sunday to take on the third-seeded Bulls at a time to be determined.


About Andrew Surma

Central Michigan Life Sports Editor

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