Soccer loses to Western Michigan, falls out of playoff contention

Junior midfielder Shannon Magnan lobs a pass to the opposite side of the field on Oct. 22 at the CMU Soccer Complex.

In a must-win situation, the Central Michigan women’s soccer team was shut down at the CMU Soccer Complex and lost 2-1.  

The Chippewas (7-8-3, 2-6-2 Mid-American Conference) lost to Western Michigan (9-7-1, 4-5-1) on Sunday, ending any chances at making the MAC Tournament.

Just 12 minutes into the game, Central Michigan earned its first scoring opportunity when junior forward Lexi Pelafas made a huge run, got the ball, and fired a shot off the post.  

Pelafas, who broke CMU’s all-time scoring record and leads the team with 12 goals, finished with five shots.

The junior was one of many players who could not capitalize on scoring efforts against the Broncos. 

“(Western Michigan) did a great job of dropping back, killing the space, and breaking up the rhythm when it needed to be broken up,” head coach Peter McGahey said. 

The Broncos struck first with 42:06 left in the second half. While known for her high-powered shots, sophomore midfielder Grace Labadie trickled the ball passed CMU goalkeeper Zoie Reed to put Western Michigan ahead, 1-0. 

Five minutes later, Western Michigan found the back of the net again. Senior defender Maria Jaramillo sent a cross into the box, which was received by the head of senior midfielder Kendall Juhnke and put in the back of the net. 

Down 2-0, the Chippewas gained some momentum with 16:24 left in the contest, as senior midfielder Savannah Beetcher sent a corner kick in for sophomore midfielder Marle Bringard, who registered her second goal of the season. 

“I’m proud of the fight in how the team responded to battle back to make it interesting,” McGahey said. 

CMU had one final opportunity to even the score on a corner kick with 30 seconds left. With Reed up on the attack, the ball into the box was punched away by Western Michigan goalkeeper Stephanie Heber. 

With the loss, CMU drops out of MAC Tournament contention. 

“In the second half, there were just some uncharacteristic errors that suddenly put us down 2-0,” McGahey said. “The hole was too big to dig out. In the first half, we had some chances that we could’ve taken to make it different, but it is what it is and I’m proud of the fight at the end.”

Western Michigan holds on to its eighth spot in the MAC, which is just enough to keep them in the playoffs. As for Eastern Michigan, the team is on the outside looking in with 12 points. The Eagles will need a win and a loss from WMU or Ohio next week to make the tournament. 

Kent State, Ball State, Bowling Green, Toledo, and Buffalo have secured playoff berth, while Northern Illinois and Ohio could still slip below the eighth spot in the rankings.