Soccer just misses MAC Tournament; coach fired

Senior forward Lexi Pelafas raises her hands in frustration after a questionable off sides call on Sept. 21 at the CMU Soccer Complex.

A season that started with optimism in the final year of Lexi Pelafas — the all-time leading goal scoring forward — ended with head coach Peter McGahey being sacked.

He will no longer be the coach of Central Michigan soccer. CMU athletics made the announcement Friday afternoon. 

"I have done an extensive review of our program over the past week and determined it was necessary to make a change with our soccer leadership," Athletic Director Michael Alford said in a statement. "We will soon begin a national search to identify a head coach who will put our student-athletes in a position to compete for championships."

The Chippewa’s finished with an overall record of 7-12 and went 5-6 in conference play. They missed their shot at qualifying for the MAC Tournament in the final game of the season.

Pelafas All-MAC Honors

Lexi Pelafas led the Chippewa’s offense all season long and was awarded by being named to the All-MAC Second Team. 

Pelafas’ nine goals on the season were good for third in the MAC. Her 42 goals and 94 points over her career place her as the all-time leader in both categories at CMU. 

Pelafas had previously made All-MAC first teams in 2017 and 2016, and was selected to the MAC All-Freshman squad in 2015.  

Win at Western 

CMU's most notable win of the season came when they traveled to Kalamazoo and beat archival Western Michigan 3-2.  The Broncos were 10-4 at the time, and were a legitimate contender near the top of the MAC. The back and forth match was a physical one, resulting in five yellow cards.  

Goals from Pelafas and Natalie Belisto highlighted of the first half for CMU. Western Michigan drew even with the Chippewas in the 73rd minute, but Chesney Wargo scored her first collegiate goal a minute later to seal the Chippewas' victory.  

Senior Salute

The CMU careers of Mary Carlson, Madison Costner, Shannon Magnan, and Pelafas all came to a conclusion at the end of the season. 

Costner and Magnan trailed only Pelafas in points scored for the team with 14 and 12 respectively. Carlson was the only senior defender on the team and was a steady force on the defensive end.  

Carlson, Magnan, and Costner were selected to Academic All-MAC teams in 2015 and 2016.  Carlson also named to the MAC All-Freshman team in 2015.

Goalie Situation 

Senior Zoie Reed was expected to start in goal for the Chippewas, but suffered an injury that kept her out for the entire season.  Reed was redshirted and is expected to be back for the 2019 season — her sixth year at CMU.  

Briana Wallbridge and Morgan Britain shared starting goaltender responsibilities throughout the season. Wallbridge was credited with a 3-4 record and a 1.23 goals against average, while Britain posted a 4-8 record with a 2.07 goals against average.  

MAC Tournament Woes

The Chippewas' MAC Tournament fate came down to the last game of the season. They lost a close game at Eastern Michigan in overtime. 

CMU trailed 2-0 in the second half but made a valiant comeback effort to tie the game before the final whistle.  

Pelafas was called for a controversial red card in overtime, and the Eagles capitalized on the player advantage to score the goal that ended the CMU season.

McGahey being replaced

After missing the MAC Tournament for a second straight year, McGahey’s contract wasn’t renewed. He had an overall record of 50-55-12 during his six years of coaching at CMU. 

McGahey's best season was in 2016 when the Chippewa's finished 15-3-3 overall and 6-2-3 in the MAC. It was his only winning season.