Lindsay Gerber, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – While a late second-half goal kept spirits up, it wasn’t enough for the Central Michigan women’s soccer team as its post-season chances slipped away with a 2-1 Mid-American Conference loss to Western Michigan on Sunday at the CMU Soccer Complex.
CMU slipped to 7-8-3, 2-6-2 MAC and was eliminated from the MAC Tournament race. The Chippewas close the season at home against Eastern Michigan on Thursday (3 p.m.).
“I’m proud of the fight in terms of how the team responded and battled back to make it interesting,” CMU coach Peter McGahey said. “I think in the second half there was a little bit of uncharacteristic errors that all of a sudden put us down 2-0 in a hole. The hole was ultimately too big to dig out.”
It was an evenly played first half, with Central Michigan having a slight shot advantage, 7-6, heading into a scoreless halftime. Western Michigan brought the pressure for the second half, with Grace Labadie scoring the first goal less than three minutes in to the second half.
“(Western) did a good job of killing the space and breaking up the rhythm when it needed to be broken,” McGahey said. “Unfortunately, if you hit the post in the first half, the second half you have a couple chances that are blocked. We generated chances to score.”
The Chippewas continued to create offensive chances during the second half, but could not capitalize. Their deficit increased to 2-0 when Kendall Juhnke scored in the 57th minute.
Marle Bringard kept the Chippewas’ hopes alive with a goal on a header off a Savannah Beetcher corner kick. CMU finished with a 7-3 advantage in corners and a 13-12 edge in shots.
“I’m proud of them in terms of how they responded back from being two goals down,” McGahey said. “Unfortunately, we did not come out at halftime with enough urgency to get the job done today.”
Zoie Reed made three saves going the distance in goal for the Chippewas. Stephanie Heber tallied four saves for the Broncos.
Western Michigan is 9-7-1, 4-5-1.