Soccer one win away from best start in program history

Senior defender Kaylin Hoomaian fights for a ball in the air during the game against Youngstown State on Aug. 26 at the CMU Soccer/Lacrosse Complex.

The last time the Chippewas started 7-0, the Detroit Tigers were in the World Series for the first time since 1984, NCAA leading goal scorer Alexis Pelafas was in the fourth grade and head coach Peter McGahey was living in Colorado.

On Sept. 22, 2006, the Central Michigan women's soccer team lost its Mid-American Conference opener against Ohio, ending the Chippewas' seven-game winning streak to start the season — the best start in program history.

On Oct. 29 of the same year, CMU played Kent State in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament for the second straight year. The game went into double overtime, but the Golden Flashes ultimately won after a CMU handball gave KSU an opportunity to score on a penalty kick. 

Although the 2006 season ended without a MAC Championship, five Chippewas still earned All-MAC honors, including midfielder Stephanie Martin's MAC Freshman of the Year Award.

A decade later, head coach Peter McGahey and his team have a chance to set a new program record and start the season 8-0. CMU will have to win Sunday at home against Oakland University.

"In '06, that would've been my last year as a technical director," McGahey said. "My mom got breast cancer and we relocated from Oklahoma back to Colorado. That was my last fall coaching U11 boys soccer — the Colorado Fusion Soccer Club."

Plenty has changed since 2006, but McGahey's attitude about taking things with a step-by-step approach has not. 

"At that point (in 2006), I was probably focused on trying to make the players and coaching staff I was leading as best I could," he said. "To say there was some big vision planned wouldn't be true. I was just focused on trying to be the best I could be that day for the players I was working with."

The 2006 and 2016 teams are remarkably similar statistically. The 2006 team scored 17 goals through seven games, while this year's team has scored 18. The 2006 squad gave up seven goals through seven games while today's team has given up just four.

In 2006, the leading goal scorer was Martin with nine goals. Pelafas, a sophomore, already has an NCAA-leading nine goals throughout the first seven games.

Despite similarities, McGahey isn't trying to repeat history. He is trying to write his own.

The team returns to action Sunday at home against Oakland University at 3 p.m. With a program record (8-0) on the line, McGahey isn't focused on an eight-game winning streak with his "living in the moment" mentality.

"I'm always in the moment," McGahey said. "To say in 2006 I had a thought as to where I was going in terms of that stuff would be short selling the women's efforts now. It's really about this team and this moment, making sure everyone is fulfilling their roles."