Lindsay Gerber, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - The Central Michigan soccer team picked up its first Mid-American Conference win of the season on Thursday.
And it was a big one.
The Chippewas topped Toledo, 5-0, at the CMU Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium as Junior Lexi Pelafas recorded her second hat trick of the season as CMU improved to 6-4-3, 1-2-2 MAC. Toledo fell to 5-5-3, 1-2-2 MAC.
"It's about how we played and the discipline the team showed throughout the game," CMU coach Peter McGahey said. "I'm really proud in terms of the mentality that we brought tonight from the first whistle to the last whistle."
CMU will hit the road to take on Bowling Green (7-5, 2-3) on Sunday (1 p.m.). The Falcons fell, 2-1, at Eastern Michigan on Thursday.
"The first win in the MAC is always special and important," McGahey said. "It's not necessarily the outcome that makes a difference tonight, but it's the process and how we played the game that is the momentum builder going forward."
Central Michigan seized the lead on an own goal off a corner kick less than five minutes in. Pelafas scored less than three minutes later off a Meghan Sweeney assist. Pelafas scored against in the 25th minute and again in the 58th, the later off a Sheila Magnan assist.
Pelafas, who now has 11 goals on the season, recorded her first hat trick in a 4-2 mid-September nonconference victory over Mount St. Mary's. She became the first Chippewa to score three times in a game since 2009, and she now has two of the five hat tricks in program history. She is the first to have accomplished the feat twice.
Magnan, a freshman, scored her first career goal in the 68th minute off a Jamie Rademacher assist.
The Chippewas finished with a commanding 17-4 advantage in shots including 9-3 in shots on goal. They also had two corner kicks while blanking the Rockets in that department on the night.
Chippewa goalkeeper Zoie Reed made two saves in 79 minutes. Redshirt freshman Morgan Britain made on save over for the final 10:26 in relief of Reed. They combined to record CMU's fourth shutout of the season.
"The connection of the back line was really quite good," McGahey said. "I thought Zoie's leadership and playing off her line really steadied the game as it went on. Our defensive shape and collective spirit is something I'm really proud of."