Soccer shows grit in back-to-back double OT games over weekend
Having played 215 minutes of soccer in two double overtime matches this weekend, Central Michigan soccer has made one thing clear — it has grit.
The Chippewas (10-1-1, 2-1-1 Mid-American Conference) beat Miami (OH) 1-0 in double overtime on Friday and tied Ball State 0-0 in double overtime on Sunday.
Grit and character, head coach Peter McGahey said, is exactly what his team displayed during the past two games.
"I'm really proud of our performance and (the team's) effort and grittiness, overcoming an overtime game on Friday night," he said. "Ball State is a Top 50 RPI team, so to have this kind of performance and grind it out really showed good grit a character. Sometimes like on a day like today, you may not get the result you want exactly. We played 215 minutes of soccer this weekend and we didn't concede a goal. I think there's a lot of positives to take away from today."
CMU recorded just three shots on goal against the Cardinals, who had just two shots.
One of the top goal scorers in the nation, Alexis Pelafas scored the game-winning goal on Friday against the RedHawks. The sophomore striker has 10 goals on the season.
"(Coach McGahey) kept saying 'patience' on the sideline and I knew I had all my teammates beside me and the grit was there to finish it off," Pelafas said about the goal. "Savannah (Beetcher) always looks to find me and I just kept running. I knew I had to score with only four minutes left. I just turned and put it over the goalie's head."
She was stymied on Sunday against BSU, but McGahey said as opposing teams begin to focus on stopping Pelafas' offensive attack, he hopes more contributors step up as MAC play progresses.
"Teams have to grow and evolve," he said. "You have to have other players say 'hey, today is my day to step up and shine.' That's a place I feel very good about the team and its depth and their commitment to continue to grow. You don't want to be playing your best soccer on Oct. 1, you want to be playing on Nov. 1."
The Cardinals, who were leading the MAC West Division coming into Sunday, might be a team CMU sees again in the MAC Tournament in late October. McGahey said he's not looking that far ahead, but instead is taking the season game by game.
"I'm just trying to figure out what I'm going to have for breakfast tomorrow morning," he said. "There's so much soccer left. What you saw today is in the MAC, you always have to earn it. There's no gimmes. It's bring your best A-game, because (your opponent) is bringing their best A-game. We did a good job of earning what we got (on Sunday)."
CMU has scored four goals during its last five games, going 3-1-1.
The Chippewas travel to Toledo on Thursday and return home to host Bowling Green on Sunday.