MAC Tournament hopes in limbo for women's soccer

Junior forward Lexi Pelafas kicks the ball into the back of the net for the second score of the match on Oct. 5 at the CMU Soccer Complex.

The next three games will decide the fate of the Central Michigan women's soccer team.

CMU currently sits 6-7-3 on the season and 1-5-2 in conference play. To have a chance at participating in the Mid-American Conference tournament on Oct. 29, the Chippewas must improve their record in the final three home games.

CMU will host Northern Illinois (8-6-1, 5-3 MAC) at 6 p.m. Thursday and Western Michigan (8-6-1, 3-4-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday. Both games will be played at the CMU Soccer Complex.

“It will be nice to play three games in front of the friendly fans," head coach Peter McGahey said. "At this point in the season, they become like one-game playoff games."

Last year, the Chippewas bounced WMU and were shutout by NIU. Both games were played on the road. 

Undefeated at Home

While CMU is 1-7-0 on the road this season, the team is 4-0-2 at the CMU Soccer Complex. 

Junior forward Lexi Pelafas leads the MAC with 12 goals and two assists in 15 games. She also leads the league with 78 shots. Pelafas has two MAC Offensive Player of the Week awards and broke the school goal-scoring record earlier this season. 

Of Pelafas’ 12 goals, 10 have come at home. 

Junior goalkeeper Zoie Reed has registered four shutouts at the CMU Soccer Complex, but has never been able to manage one on the road. Reed has a 74.7 save percentage and a 1.33 goals against average in 16 games. 

Madison Costner poses as another offensive weapon for CMU. The senior forward scored the lone goal for the Chippewas last weekend and is tied for seventh in the MAC with five goals scored. 

Mary Carlson, a junior, has played a team-high 1,496 minutes and will anchor Central Michigan’s defense. She has two goals and one assist. 

Scouting Report

The Huskies’ offense is guided by junior forward Taylor Sarver, who has scored three goals. 

Redshirt junior midfielder Lauren Gierman is a key part of the attack, dishing six assists and scoring two goals. Gierman’s assist total is good for second in the MAC, behind Bowling Green’s Maureen Kennedy with seven assists. 

Northern Illinois will feature Amy Annala, a senior goalkeeper. Through 14 games, Annala has allowed 16 goals and made 47 saves, good for a 74.6 save percentage. 

The Broncos are led by sophomore midfielder Grace Labadie, who has four goals and one assist in 15 games. Senior forward Emma Kahn is also a threat with three goals logged so far. With a team-high three assists this season, senior defender Alyssa Smith has consistently set up Labadie and Kahn. Labadie’s goal total has her tied for 10th in the MAC. 

In net for Western Michigan will be Stephanie Herber, who has seven shutouts this season. The Broncos redshirt senior goalkeeper has converted 70 saves in 15 games, allowing just 14 goals.