Pelafas 'builds legacy' as all-time leading goal-scorer

Junior forward Lexi Pelafas brings the ball upfield for a potential score on Sept. 29 at the CMU Soccer Complex.

Last season, Lexi Pelafas topped the Central Michigan soccer team’s single-season scoring record with 16 goals.

In 2017, Pelafas is back to breaking records. 

The junior forward shattered the all-time scoring record in CMU’s 2-1 loss to Kent State in its Mid-American Conference opener on Friday, Sept. 22. 

“It started from the back,” Pelafas said. “The ball went from our back line to the midfield, then Sarah (Mitchell) had a beautiful ball in. Madison (Pogarch) made a run to open me up and I put the ball in the back of the net.”

The record-breaking shot allowed for Pelafas to pass Stephanie Martin with 28 career goals. 

“I am very humbled and honored by it,” Pelafas said. “It’s a very good accomplishment, but it takes a whole team.”

CMU head coach Peter McGahey looks at Pelafas’ all-time scoring record in a few different ways. He said the real power is in the legacy being built. 

“It’s a blessing to have a historically significant player,” McGahey said. “When you have a player that has accomplished a record like that, there is some sixth-grader who is someday going to look at Lexi’s record and say, ‘I want to be a Chippewa and I want to beat that.’

“The real power is to create dreams and inspire young ladies and people that we don’t even know are going to be (Chippewas) yet.”

McGahey has seen Pelafas refine her talents over the last three seasons. He thinks Pelafas’ scoring ability comes from hard work at practice.

“There’s a tenaciousness, persistence, competitiveness, and a desire to score goals,” McGahey said. “The character that people see when she comes out and performs is something she works on very hard at practice.”

Pelafas, an Illinois native, was a member of the MAC All-Freshman Team in 2015. The following year, she became the first Chippewa forward to earn First Team All-MAC honors since 2012. She has used her energy to score consistently. 

“I just focus on each play and every moment,” Pelafas said. “Just going to every play and every ball with passion. I don’t think about if I am tired or not, I just go do it.”

In the first home game of the season against Robert Morris, Pelafas scored two headers to lead CMU to a 4-0 victory. The junior reflected on her ability in the air.   

“It’s something I have always loved doing,” Pelafas said. “I have been practicing it since I was little. I just find a way of timing my run, getting a good ball in from my teammates, hunting it down and scoring a goal.” 

Going forward, Pelafas’ mission is to win a MAC championship. She plans to take it one day at a time to get there. 

“I want to take it game-by-game, conquering each day,” Pelafas said. “You have to conquer each day in order to move forward. If you give your best each day, things will come in the future.”