Pelafas scores 12th goal as soccer tops Toledo


CMU sophomore forward Alexis Pelafas kicks the ball during a game against Miami (Ohio) on Friday, Sept. 30 at the CMU Soccer/Lacrosse Complex.

Heading into the season, senior midfielder Eliza Van de Kerkhove was expected to lead the Central Michigan soccer team to the Mid-American Conference Tournament. 

Instead, it's been sophomore forward Alexis Pelafas leading the way for the Chippewas.

Pelafas scored her 12th goal of the season Thursday as CMU defeated Toledo 3-0 on the road in the first of two weekend games. 

The Chippewas' offense sparked early with Pelafas' fifth minute goal, a header from the left side of the net. Van de Kerkhove was credited with the assist. 

Pelafas was first in the country in goals scored at one point, but is now tied for second with Stephanie Ribeiro from Connecticut. Ashley Hatch from BYU leads the NCAA with 15 goals.

Three of Pelafas' four shots during the game were on goal.

"We started with an intense energy going into the game," Pelafas said. "I had a perfect ball (from Van de Kerkhove) and I just finished the opportunity. I'm just doing my job out there and trying to make the most of my minutes."

Sophomore forward Madison Costner scored her second goal of the season with just two seconds remaining in the first half, giving CMU a 2-0 lead at halftime.

"Madison's goal was the most crucial goal of the game," said head coach Peter McGahey. "The difference of being up 1-0 to 2-0 at halftime changes the dynamic of the game. I was really proud in terms of the depth and the performance we had from everyone."

Costner scored in the 52nd minute on a strike to the top right corner to put CMU up 3-0.

"To put out a quality team performance was really great to see," McGahey said. "It's really important to score the first goal. I think it makes a big difference in the game." 

The shutout was the eighth of the season for the Chippewas. Senior goalkeeper Kristen Knutson made all four save opportunities to preserve the clean sheet. 

Today also marked the first time senior forward Samantha Maher has played since suffering a leg injury on Sept. 18.

With Northern Illinois losing to Miami (Ohio) 2-0 on Thursday, the Chippewas moved past the Huskies for second place in the MAC West standings, trailing only Ball State. 

CMU (11-1-1, 3-1-1 MAC) returns home on Sunday to host Bowling Green at 1 p.m.