Pelafas Flashback: How she broke CMU's single-season goals record

In 2001, Central Michigan soccer player Allison Campbell set the record for most goals scored in a season with 14.

That record stood until sophomore forward Alexis Pelafas had something to say about it.

Pelafas tied and broke the record on Oct. 16 against Ohio in the Chippewas’ final regular season home game of the season. She put the Chippewas up 1-0 and then eventually scored the game-winner — and the record breaker — with 5:54 remaining in double overtime.

It was her 15th goal — seventh game-winner at the time — of the season. The goal lifted the Chippewas to a 13-1-2 overall record and a 5-1-2 Mid-American Conference record.

“I kind of forgot about the record,” Pelafas admitted. “I knew it was there, but I wasn’t even really thinking about it. I was thinking about winning the game. Afterwards, everyone was really happy for me. It was an honor and it was humbling, but I think the team should get just as much recognition as I am.”

After earning All-MAC Freshman Team honors a season ago, Pelafas began her sophomore season scoring two goals in each of the team’s first two games of 2016. She only scored four goals total during her freshman campaign. Pelafas had seven goals through the first five games and wasn’t stopping there. She had 13 goals through 14 games, averaging nearly one goal per game.

During the team’s 14th game, Pelafas was called for her fourth yellow card of the season. According to the NCAA Soccer Rulebook, if a player accumulates four yellow cards in one season, the fourth yellow turns into a red card.

So Pelafas was forced to sit during the biggest match of the season for the team — against the MAC East-leading Kent State Golden Flashes. Because of the suspension, she couldn’t be with the team throughout any portion of the game; she sat in the press box and rooted on her teammates from a distance.

“It was really hard to sit and watch the team from (the press box),” she said. “It was hard because I couldn’t say anything or motivate the team at all. I had full trust in them and they showed that. I definitely never want to be away like that ever again.”

CMU, without Pelafas, tied the Golden Flashes 1-1 in a match that ended in double overtime.

With four games remaining in the regular season, Pelafas had one final chance to tie or break the record in front of the home crowd. In her first game back from suspension, she single-handily defeated the Ohio Bobcats while tying and breaking the record with her two-goal performance.

“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,” head coach Peter McGahey said after the Ohio match. “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.”

She ended the season at the top of nearly every offensive category in the MAC. She ended the season ranked No. 1 in shots (100), shots per game (5.26), goals (16), goals per game (0.84) and game-winning goals (8). She is second in points (35) and points per game (1.84). The only category she was not at the top was assists and assists per game. She only had three assists all season.

Something that kept Pelafas going was having her family come to nearly every game at the CMU Soccer/Lacrosse Complex this season. The Pelafas family resides in Wheaton, Illinois, which is about an hour west of Chicago.

“(Coming to watch home games) this year has been a little challenging (due to family events),” said LaDonna Pelafas, Alexis’ mother. “Sunday games have consisted of leaving our house at 5:30 a.m. so we would make it to CMU early enough to take Lexi to Tropical Smoothie before she had to be at the field. The family would then watch the game and head home shortly after, getting home around 9 p.m.”

Unfortunately, the Pelafas family wasn’t able to witness the record-breaker.

“We actually had to leave after the first overtime because my husband was afraid he would miss a flight,” LaDonna Pelafas said. “Lexi’s aunt and uncle were still at the game and texted us that they won and Lexi scored. We were so excited and cheered in the car and my husband was so disappointed that we had to leave. But we were glad she reached this milestone.”