Central Michigan hands K-State soccer second loss of season

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Kim Braddock, sophomore forward heads the ball while Megan Kalkofen, sophomore defender, tries to catch it during the Wildcats scrimmage on August 6, 2016 at the K-State Soccer Complex. White defeated Purple 2-0. (Evert Nelson | The Collegian)

Kansas State soccer fell to 1-2-1 after losing 2-0 to Central Michigan University Sunday afternoon.

The loss was the first one since the Wildcats lost their season opener to Saint Louis on Aug. 19.

Central Michigan entered the game 3-0, having won all three regular-season games by a combined score of 8-2 and outshooting their opponents 55-31. They also entered with one of the best scorers in the country, sophomore forward and midfielder Alexis Pelafas who as of Aug. 25 was in a six-way tie for most goals in the country, with four.

Sunday’s game, however, was not necessarily a showcase for either team’s offense. The two teams combined for only 7 shots-on-goal in a game that was 1-0 until less than ten minutes remained in the 90-minute game.

The teams went back and forth through most of the game, each generating rushes that were either broken up or handled by the goalkeepers.

Freshman goalkeeper Tania Chassot made her second start in net and made two saves on four shots on goal. One of the two saves, however, led to a Central Michigan corner, which Chippewa senior midfielder Samantha Maher capitalized on, taking a loose ball and putting it past Chassot to give Central Michigan a 1-0 lead.

“We dug ourselves a hole early and chased that one goal and in chasing the game, we showed a little desperation offensively to try to even the game,” K-State head coach Mike Dibbini told K-State Sports after the game. “We had a lot of positives. We created a lot of chances, but could not get one to fall in the back of the net for us and get us back into the game.”

Strong defense by Central Michigan allowed the single goal to be all they needed.

Central Michigan showed quickly why they were 3-0 heading into the game. They used quick passes and demonstrated good ball-control while outshooting K-State 7-2 in the first half. Neither of K-State’s two shots were even on goal.

The second half was slightly more balanced between the two sides.

K-State actually outshot Central Michigan 6-5 in the second half and got their lone shot on goal of the game on Chippewa senior goalkeeper Kristen Knutson in the 47th minute.

Multiple times, K-State missed cross passes that might have been tipped in or were chased down by defenders determined to keep K-State from tying the game.

Then, with about eight minutes remaining, Pelafas showed why she was one of the best goal scorers in the country, and in the same moment killed any realistic expectations the Wildcats had for a comeback.

“This game is about momentum shifts,” Dibbini said to K-State sports afterward. “We got a little more desperate in the final five minutes and sent more numbers forward but it backfired and their top goal scorer got on the end of one of those plays.”

Pelafas took a pass on the left side of the field, made a quick move around sophomore defenseman Megan Kalkofen, and beat Chassot on the lower left side of the net to make the game 2-0.

K-State’s next game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 2 against Creighton, and can be streamed for free through kstatesports.com.

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Shelton grew up in the desert southwest. A native of Lancaster, California, he mostly grew up in south Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Kansas and graduating from Junction City High School. He started working as a news writer for the Collegian in 2009 before taking a three-year break from college. He returned to K-State in 2013 and has since worked for the news desk, feature desk, as a copy editor and now as a sports writer. He enjoys tap dancing, writing anything possible, reading court opinions and watching Arizona Coyotes hockey.