4 keys to victory in CMU soccer's matchup with Ohio

Sophomore forward Alexis Pelafas battles a defender for the ball during the game against Oakland University on Sunday, Sept. 18 at the Soccer / Lacrosse Complex.

In a hard fought, defensive battle in which the Chippewas were outshot 23-5, Central Michigan soccer found a way to get a 1-1 tie against Mid-American Conference leaders Kent State on Friday.

The Chippewas (12-1-2, 4-1-2 MAC) were without their leading scorer, sophomore striker Alexis Pelafas, on Friday. She returns Sunday as CMU takes on Ohio (3-10-1, 1-6 MAC) at 1 p.m. at the Soccer/Lacrosse Complex in Mount Pleasant. The Bobcats are last in the MAC East Division.

Here are four keys CMU will need to accomplish in order to win on Sunday.

Find Pelafas

After having to watch her team battle Kent State from the press box on Friday, Pelafas should give the Chippewas' offense an extra boost. The sophomore forward has 13 goals this season, which is one away from breaking CMU's single-season record. After only having five shots on goal Friday, I expect Pelafas to have a big game and be able to create more opportunities for her team offensively with her aggressive play.

Pick up the defense

The Chippewas were outshot 23-5 by the Golden Flashes on Friday night, but luckily senior goalkeeper Kristen Knutson only allowed one goal. Kent State peppered Knutson and had many scoring opportunities go just wide or over the crossbar. CMU will have to find a way to create more turnovers and turn that into more offensive opportunities and counter attacks. 

Score early and often

Central Michigan has now played in four overtime games out of its last five. In order to avoid another game going passed regulation time, the Chippewas need to find a way to come out of the gates firing and scoring early. By gaining control of the game early, CMU shouldn't have trouble staying on top of an Ohio team that hasn't played well this season. Staying out of another overtime game is key to keeping players fresh as we start to come down the final stretch of the season. The MAC Tournament begins on Oct. 30.

Limit the penalties

Central Michigan had a total of eight fouls in its last game, which didn't help the team get chances on the offensive end. A yellow card accumulation suspension was the reason Pelafas was unable to play in the game on Friday night. The Chippewas need to avoid these mistakes to not have any setbacks during the game on Sunday, make it easier on your team but not getting penalties.

This is the Chippewas final home game and will begin at 1 p.m.