Pelafas scores NCAA-leading fifth goal as Chippewas win home-opener

Friday marked the home opener for the Central Michigan women’s soccer team, and it didn’t take long for the Chippewas to take control.

Just three minutes into the contest against Youngstown State, sophomore forward Alexis Pelafas scored her fifth goal of the season. It gave the Chippewas an early 1-0 lead, as well as sole possession for the NCAA lead in goals scored.

The scoring continued as the Chippewas defeated the Penguins 3-1, extending their record to 3-0-0. 

“I saw (our confidence) early,” Pelafas said. “We have the goal every time to get a goal in the first 10 minutes. The unity between the team was together from the very start. After the first goal we kept going and pushed harder. The grit was there again tonight.”

Pelafas now leads the NCAA with five goals. Although Pelafas has been the center of attention, she said she wants some of the attention to go to her teammates.

“It’s pretty exciting, but I couldn’t do it without my team” she said. “It’s such an exciting feeling because it comes from my teammates. I couldn’t do it without them and my coaching staff.”

To go along with Pelafas’ goal, CMU scored two more goals in the first half. Senior defenseman Taylor Potts scored her first goal of the season off a pass from junior midfielder Jamie Rademacher to nab the Chippewas’ second goal.

“I think the team was really excited tonight to play at home and in front of a good crowd,” said Head Coach Peter McGahey. “We jumped on (Youngstown State) early and I thought that was really good to capitalize. It set the tone for the day.”

The Chippewas' final goal of the match came in the 45th minute from sophomore forward Madison Costner. 

By halftime, McGahey wasn’t worried about having to play his star players in the second half. He started the second half without Pelafas, Eliza Van de Kerkhove and senior midfielder Samantha Maher on the field. 

Senior goalkeeper Kristen Knutson was also subbed out halfway through the second half, leaving the Chippewas with a lot of talent on the bench.

“I thought Youngstown did a really good job clawing and scratching away at us,” McGahey said. “Hats off to them because their competitiveness was really good.”

CMU will take on Kansas State at home this Sunday at 1 p.m.