Junior forward leads soccer to final road games

Junior midfielder Madison Pogarch drives the ball toward the net on Oct. 5 at the CMU Soccer Complex.

With the final two road games of the season just around the corner for the Central Michigan soccer team, the Chippewas will attempt to earn much needed victories in Mid-American Conference play this weekend.

CMU (6-5-3, 1-3-2 MAC) will battle against Miami (Ohio) (0-12-1, 0-5-1) on Friday and Ball State (6-6-2, 4-1-1) on Sunday. Last season, CMU topped Miami in double overtime and tied Ball State. Both games were played at the CMU Soccer Complex. 

In their most recent games, the Chippewas blew out Toledo, 5-0. Then, CMU lost on the road against Bowling Green, 3-1. 

"The team put a good week in," head coach Peter McGahey said. "They were really open to the feedback and information we provided them. Even though it was eyeopening and hard, they did a good job of accepting that putting what we wanted out on the practice field. 

"When you have a week like last week with a great performance and a performance that's not so good, you have to be able to own both. They have shown really good ownership this week."

Pelafas earns MAC Offensive Player of the Week Honors

Junior forward Lexi Pelafas was named the MAC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season. Last week, she scored three goals in a victory over Toledo and one goal in a loss against Bowling Green. 

"As an individual, her standards of what she wants to achieve here at CMU are really high," McGahey said. "I think it's inspiring to see someone putting forth their best effort. Also, the team as a whole is supportive and encouraging, putting challenges out that have to make her raise her level everyday."

After scoring 16 goals to set the CMU single-season scoring record last season, Pelafas currently has 12 goals this time around, which leads the MAC. 

The Illinois native is the fifth highest goalscorer in NCAA Division I, as Wofford’s Hayley Younginer leads the way with 19 goals. Earlier this season, Pelafas broke the CMU all-time scoring record.  

Madison Costner is tied for eighth in the conference with four goals scored. The senior forward also has one assist on the season. 

Junior defender Mary Carlson leads the team with 1,310 minutes played. She has two goals and one assist. 

Scouting Report

Miami is winless this season, losing league games to Toledo, Bowling Green, Kent State, Northern Illinois, and Western Michigan. The RedHawks’ lone tie came at home against Ohio. Miami has scored just four goals on the season, compared to 23 by opponents. 

The RedHawks are led by sophomore forward Olivia Winnett. Last season, she played in all 19 games as a freshman and commanded the team with three goals and one assist. This year, as a sophomore, Winnett has two goals and one assist. The other two goals scorers on the season for Miami are senior midfielder Katie Alexander and senior defender Madison Knock. 

In net for Miami will be Patricia Koutoulas, who has allowed 23 goals and made 67 saves in 13 games this season. 

Meanwhile, Ball State has one loss in conference action, falling to Northern Illinois in overtime. 

The Cardinals are offensively led by sophomore forward Julia Elvbo. She has four goals and one assist. Sam Kambol also has four goals, while Lauren Roll has three goals and two assists. Sophomore Yela Ziswiler holds down the defense, playing a team-high 1,304 minutes so far. 

Ball State has two goalkeepers, Alyssa Heintschel and Tristian Stuteville, who could see time on the pitch. Heintschel, a senior, has made 35 saves and allowed only six goals. 

CMU faces Miami at 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13 at the RedHawks Soccer Field. Then, CMU plays Ball State at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15 at the Ball State Soccer Field. 

"The reality is these games are really important," McGahey said. "Coming home with points this weekend is important. That's a pressure that the team will embrace."