Central Michigan soccer falls in regular season finale
Under snowy conditions, the Central Michigan soccer team had its regular season come to an end. But the season is still alive.
CMU lost its second consecutive match Thursday with a 3-1 loss to Eastern Michigan at the CMU Soccer/Lacrosse Complex.
In order to clinch a place in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, the Chippewas needed a win or a Bowling Green victory over Toledo. They got the latter, as the Falcons defeated the Rockets by an identical 3-1 margin.
"We've done okay in games, it's just how we start," coach Jeremy Groves said of his team's struggles. "We've got to break the trend, it's really hard to come back when you're down."
The Chippewas (7-5-4, 4-5-2) took an early lead when freshman forward Lauren DeBeau scored her fourth goal of the season, finding the right corner of the net off an assist from fellow freshman forward Cami Taylor.
However, things quickly snowballed in favor of the Eagles.
Eastern Michigan's redshirt junior forward Sabrina McNeill tied the game with her sixth goal of the season, and her teammate junior defender Haley Tausend gave the Eagles the lead with a header as the first half ticked inside of 10 minutes.
EMU made it 3-1 with a goal from freshman forward Amanda Cripps, all but icing the game away with less than 20 minutes remaining.
Central Michigan had multiple of opportunities within the second half, but couldn't get the ball to bounce in its favor. Senior midfielder Marle Bringard missed high with a shot early in the half, and Taylor missed on a pair of shots as well.
"At times in the second half we played really well today," Groves said. "It's a reoccurring theme, you go on down the line and the second half is better than the first. We have to figure out as a coaching staff how we can come out and play in the first half."
With the loss, the Chippewas will be the eighth seed in the MAC Tournament. Their first round matchup is a tilt with the top-seeded Falcons, who defeated the CMU earlier in the season on a pair of late goals.
"I think we can take some belief into the game, knowing that we can compete," Groves said. "This team, when we perform, we can compete against anybody.
"That's the frustration right now and over the past couple of weeks. This team, when we perform to our potential, we can beat anybody."
The matchup at Bowling Green is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday. The winner advances to the semifinals, which will be played at a site that is to be determined.