Soccer looks to bounce back in MAC play this weekend

Junior midfielder Madison Pogarch, center, jumps for the ball on Sept. 16 during the soccer game against Mount St. Mary’s at the Soccer Complex.

After dropping its first two Mid-American Conference games, the Central Michigan soccer team looks to get back on track at home this weekend. 

The Chippewas (5-4-1, 0-2) will host Akron (1-8-1, 1-1) on Friday before going up against Buffalo (3-5-1) on Sunday. Last season, Central Michigan lost to Akron in double overtime on the road, tied Buffalo in the regular season then defeated the Bulls in the MAC Tournament, 1-0. 

CMU enters the second weekend of MAC play as the fourth-ranked team in the West Division, which is currently controlled by Northern Illinois (5-3-1, 2-0). The East Division is led by Kent State (6-3-1, 2-0), with Buffalo and Akron ranking fourth and fifth, respectively.

"I am trying to remind us of who we are and about our identity that is so important to us," head coach Peter McGahey said. "We are looking to push our identity into the game in a collective way."

CMU’s Leaders

Last weekend, junior forward Lexi Pelafas broke the soccer team’s all-time scoring record, recording her 27th goal on Friday. She leads the MAC with 51 shots and ranks second with seven goals. 

Madison Costner is ranked third in the conference with four goals scored. She also comes into the weekend with one assist. 

Junior defender Mary Carlson will anchor the back line for the Chippewas. After earning Academic All-MAC honors and starting all 21 games last season, she leads the team with 910 minutes so far. Carlson has logged two goals and one assist in 2017. 

Scouting Report

Akron is 0-2 in MAC play with losses to Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan. Meanwhile, Buffalo is 1-1 in conference play, defeating Western Michigan and falling at the hands of Northern Illinois. 

The Zips will turn to sophomore defender Ashley Amato and freshman forward Ally Brown in hopes of snapping an eight-game losing streak. Amato has played in five games this season, scoring a team-high two goals. Earning the third-most minutes on the team, Brown has two assists. In net for Akron will be freshman Amani Jiu, who has allowed 18 goals and made 44 saves in 10 games. 

The Bulls have multiple seniors on the starting eleven. The team is led by junior forward Carissima Cutona and senior midfielder Julia Benati. Cutonia has logged four goals and three assists, while Benati has three goals and one assists. Both have started all nine games for Buffalo this season. 

CMU faces Akron at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29. Then, CMU plays Buffalo at 12 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1. Both games are going to be played at the CMU Soccer Complex.