High-scoring Pelafas returns for senior season with CMU soccer

Senior forward Lexi Pelafas smiles after scoring a goal against Southern Utah on Aug. 19 at the CMU Soccer Complex.

Following a loss to Notre Dame in South Bend to open the regular season, the Central Michigan soccer team responded with a home-opener victory. 

Senior forward Lexi Pelafas recorded her third hat trick — the most in school history — as CMU took down Southern Utah 4-1.

Following the team's exhibition loss to Michigan State last week, head coach Peter McGahey said the team needed more offensive pressure. 

“It’s really just finding the back of the net that we’ve been missing, there was positive progress,” McGahey said. “If we can make more goals we will be looking at different results.”

The Fighting Irish were ranked No. 15 nationally. CMU’s nonconference schedule also presents two more contests against Big Ten schools (Michigan and Iowa) along with Southern Utah, Detroit, Northern Iowa, Oakland and Illinois-Chicago. 

The Chippewas open the Mid-American Conference schedule at home against Ohio on September 21. The Chippewas have to travel to both Western and Eastern Michigan this season. The Chippewas will also have to take on defending MAC Tournament Champion Toledo on the road in addition to Buffalo, Akron and Northern Illinois.

Outside of the Bobcats, CMU will welcome Kent State, Bowling Green, Ball State and Miami (Ohio) to the CMU Soccer Complex.

As the season gets rolling, here’s a better look at what the Chippewas will put on the field in 2018.


The Chippewas return their best scorer Pelafas to the 2018 squad. She now has 36 goals, which is a program best. 

“Lexi has a goal scoring ability that not many people have and she’s proved that, but I think what our team offers around her really makes the offensive unit great,” McGahey said. “This unit has a chance to be special with a little work, but what team doesn’t need work this early in a season.”

Outside of Pelafas, fellow senior forward and the second-best goal scorer from a season ago (six goals) Madison Costner returns to lead a young group of forwards. 

Alex Hébert, Abbi Morrell and Olivia May are all newcomers that round out the forward position.

Junior midfielder Marle Bringard returns with two goals from a season ago. Sophomore midfielder Sheila Magnan led all freshman in the MAC with 1,071 minutes played last season while adding a goal and two assists. 


McGahey said he thinks the defense has looked sharp so far despite a few small tweaks. 

“Just creating more opportunities for breaks and helping the offense get going is key,” McGahey said. “Overall on defense we’ve shown we can be really good but there are still improvements to be made. Again, it’s early in the season. Usually teams change by the end of the year.”

The lone returning senior to the defenders is Mary Carlson who started all 19 games a season ago while recording two goals and an assist. She also led the team with 1,766 minutes played.

Junior Taylor Zimmerman is expected to have a bigger role after seeing action in nine games last year. Fellow junior Kayla Roodbeen saw action in one game in 2018.

Sophomore Sarah Mitchell started all 14 games she played in last season, while adding three assists for the second-most on the team. 


Senior Zoie Reed is expected to regain the starting position when she returns from injury. She posted an 8-8-3 record with four solo shutouts in 2017. She is currently out indefinitely.

In her place for the meantime is sophomore Morgan Britain who recorded her first collegiate win against Southern Utah, allowing just one goal.

Both redshirt freshman Ashley Rose and Brianna Wallbridge have pushed Britain for playing time before the season began.

“I think (the goalies) have all done a good job with their chances and are currently playing well,” McGahey said. “So far the defense has done a good job helping them out."