Sophomore's 7 goals ranks among nation's top scorers

There was one thing Alexis Pelafas cared about heading into her sophomore season on the Central Michigan soccer team, — being more confident. 

Despite leading CMU in goals last season, Pelafas needed reassurance she could become an elite goal scorer.  

“I came in (2015) and played against good players,” she said. “There’s no reason to be hesitant. I have to go out there and play my game. It’s really exciting because I know we can do it. My teammates give me confidence and we’re always encouraging each other.”

After the first five games last season, CMU had a 2-3 record and then freshman Pelafas had scored only one goal. 

Heading into this weekend, the Chippewas are 5-0 with the help of Pelafas' seven goals, which ranks the Wheaton, Illinois native among the nation’s top scorers.

She is tied for second place with Mississippi’s Addie Forbus and Richmond's Lexi Prillaman. Ashley Hatch of Brigham Young leads the NCAA with eight goals.

Pelafas scored two goals in each of the team’s first two games of the regular season. She has put 27 shots on net with 15 on target. She netted the game-winning goal against both Duquesne and Robert Morris and also the go-ahead goal against Michigan State. 

With Pelafas leading the way, CMU's undefeated start is the program's best since 2006 when it began the season 7-0. 

Despite the success early in the season, Pelafas shares the credit with her teammates.

“As a team we’ve been working well together,” Pelafas said. “We’ve been dedicated and committed to the process of playing well. We come out excited each game and we know what we want to do.”

The four goals she scored during her freshman campaign led the team. 

Head coach Peter McGahey said Pelafas' goal scoring streak is partially a result of how the team is "deploying the strengths" of certain players around her. 

McGahey said he is impressed by Pelafas' hot start, but not surprised. 

“She’s not going to be a surprise for very long," he said. “She’s going to be noticed (now).”

McGahey also complimented Pelafas’ strategic intelligence, saying she “understands the position very well.”

“I think she’s team-first enough that if she doesn’t score and the results stay the same, I think she would be OK with it,” McGahey said. “What she’s seeing now is the product of her hard work last spring and over the summer and I’m really proud of her.”

The CMU record for most goals scored in a season is held by Allison Campbell, who scored 14 goals during the 2001 season. Pelafas is on pace to break the record and have 38 goals by the end of the regular season. 

After finishing last season with a 6-10-3 record, the team had plenty to look forward to heading into the 2016 regular season. 

Pelafas and the Chippewas have a chance to improve their fast start Friday at Dartmouth.