Soccer struggles to find offense before MAC opener

Sophomore midfielder Amanda Britain stretches for a ball near UIC’s goalie box on Sept. 16 at the Soccer/Lacrosse Complex.

After scoring five goals and winning in a shutout against Oakland a week before the Central Michigan soccer team’s Senior Day, the 1-0 loss on Sept. 16 left a sour taste in the Chippewas mouth.

“It’s a loss, it’s never a good feeling when we lose,” said senior forward Lexi Pelafas. “Especially on Senior Day, we’re going to have to let this one sting for as little bit. We have to come back even harder next week.”

The Chippewas (2-6) lost to UIC (2-8) in a game where CMU out-shot the Flames 15-2. It was the second time CMU has been shutout this year. 

Against the Flames, CMU got offensive pressure, but never found the back of the net.

“For large stretches of the game we really put on a dominant performance and kept UIC under a lot of pressure and created a lot of chances,” said head coach Peter McGahey. “Unfortunately, our chance didn’t come today and they took their chance and took off with it.”

CMU tallied multiple shots in the second half, but UIC’s freshman goalie Haley Leanna made five saves. On the season, CMU has scored 13 goals on 42 shots on goal, which is 30.9 percent.

Senior forward Madison Costner is second on the team with three goals. She said the team has to stay positive and be patient.

“Our execution has been a little off,” Costner said. “We can’t let the lack of finishing really get to us. We need to really focus on getting that one goal and let it play out from there.”

Senior midfielder Shannon Magnan is second on the team with nine points. She said the team needs to become more involved in the offense.

“The more people you can get to score on your entire team, the better of a team you are,” Magnan said. “Once we start involving more midfield, defense and forwards all collectively scoring goals, that’s when we can be really good. Also we need to be better in the final third with execution because it is just a split second chance that we score.”

Pelafas, who leads the team with 14 points, said it all starts at practice.

“We have to let this go and just try to get more opportunities,” Pelafas said. “We know we can be a really good team and we can get to that point. We just have to start again in practice and make ourselves better there first.” 

The Chippewas open Mid-American Conference play against Ohio at 6 p.m., Sept. 21 at the CMU Soccer Complex. 

“We have to learn and grow from (the UIC loss) because it’s really all we can do,” Carlson said. “We need to be hungry when we start the MAC and we are really excited for that. I think we are going to do well, so we have things to look forward to.”