CMU beats Ohio 2-1 in double overtime as Pelafas nets school record 15th goal
With rain misting in Mount Pleasant on Sunday, Central Michigan soccer found itself in the fifth overtime match it's played in its last six games, but a historic goal lifted the Chippewas to a 2-1 win over Ohio.
After the Bobcats tied the score 1-1 with just 24 seconds remaining in regulation on Sunday, the nation's leading goal scorer, CMU's sophomore striker Alexis Pelafas, took the game into her own hands.
In the second overtime period, Pelafas stormed the front of the net following a CMU shot on goal, flustering the Bobcats' goalkeeper, causing the ball to bounce loose in front of the net. The Illinois native made one move to her left and buried her 15th goal of the season to give CMU its 13th win of 2016.
The goal makes her Central Michigan soccer's all-time regular season scoring leader. Allison Campbell set the previous record of 14 goals in 2001.
It was a slow first half for both teams with only four total shots on goal. Ohio outshot CMU 3-1, leading to a scoreless first half.
It wasn't until the 62nd minute that Pelefas scored with a header on a cross into the middle from Senior Eliza Van de Kerkhove to make the score 1-0. It was Pelafas’ 14th goal, which tied the school record.
The game then continued to go back and forth with both teams not being able to find many shots on goal.
The clock was winding down with just 24 seconds left when Ohio's Hannah Jaggers scored the equalizing goal to knot the score at 1-1.
The first overtime went by quickly with few scoring chances.
With CMU facing a second consecutive match ending in a draw, Pelafas had other ideas.
“Really, I’m not thinking. I just know I have to put the ball in the back of the net,” Pelafas said of her game winning goal. “I just tried to do my job and finish the goal.”
Head coach Peter McGahey said his team learned another valuable lesson after another overtime win.
“I (have) a lot of thoughts, but I think the most important thing is the lesson that sometimes in life on the days you don't feel your very best, you just got to keep grinding,” McGahey said. “You have to keep believing and I think that we did a heck of a job with that today.”
The Chippewas fought back after a heart breaking late goal that could have crushed their morale going into overtime, but Pelafas said she believes this team has no problem staying positive.
“It is just another win, but our team is very special and we'll just keep moving on and take this as yet another learning point to keep getting better as a team,” she said.
McGahey said Pelafas' record-breaking 15th goal means a lot not just to her, but everyone involved in the CMU women's soccer organization.
“It's a lot of things: The history of the program, the legacy that has been left, the championship culture that we as a team have to try to live up to everyday,” McGahey said. “It’s the legacy of our department and program. It's something we take a lot of pride in to represent the flying C in the right way.
“I think she (Pelafas) will be proud, the alumni will be proud and I know the team is very proud of Lexi and that they were able to be a part of her accomplishment”
The Chippewas hit the road to take on Akron at 7 p.m. on Thursday.