Soccer looks to continue offensive progress over weekend

Senior forward Lexi Pelafas attempts to block a kick by Kent State on Sept. 23 at the CMU Soccer Complex.

After starting with a 2-6 record, Central Michigan soccer knew they had to find more offense before Mid-American Conference play started. 

Now, with a 2-0 start in MAC play with wins over Ohio (1-0) and Kent State (2-1), the Chippewas believe they are finding answers on that end of the field.

“In practice we’ve been working on moving together up top and with the midfield to get attacking opportunities,” said senior midfielder Shannon Magnan. “(Against KSU) it definitely showed and you can see the difference already.”

The Chippewas (4-6, 2-0 MAC) look to carry offensive success over into a weekend of road games starting with Buffalo (7-2, 1-1) at 7 p.m. on Sept. 28 and Akron (4-5-1, 1-1) at 1 p.m. on Sept. 30.

Head coach Peter McGahey wasn't taking either game lightly, as each MAC away game will be tough.

“Buffalo is quite a difficult place to play because it’s one of the few places we play inside the football stadium,” McGahey said. “Akron on Sunday is the back end of the road trip which is always good fans and a good facility. We will play well there.”

Magnan, who has three goals and five assists this season, said the team needs to focus on a good week of training before hitting the road.

“We definitely need to take care of our bodies especially when you are traveling,” Magnan said. “Traveling in itself takes a toll on you so collectively if we can work on recovery this week we will be starting it off right.”

Over the weekend, the Chippewas totaled 31 shots and put 18 of them on goal (58 percent). That’s improved from their season average of just over 50 percent (60-of-119).

One of those shots on goal was the game-winner against KSU and the first-career score of sophomore midfielder Natalie Belsito’s career. She said this team needed a spark which MAC play has brought.

“(The MAC is) a totally different season,” Belsito said. “It’s so competitive and we’re here to fight and that’s what we are doing. I think we did that this weekend.”

Previewing UB and Akron

The Bulls have the second best overall record in the MAC, but fell to Western Michigan in their last game. UB ranks first in the conference with 74 total points (8.22 per game) and in goals with 23 (2.56 per). 

Buffalo's Carissima Cutrona is tied with CMU’s senior forward Lexi Pelafas for second in the MAC with six goals. She leads the conference in total points with 19.

The Zips also split its opening conference games, starting with a loss to WMU and a win over Northern Illinois. Akron ranks third in points (51) and second in total goals (20).