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07 / 13

Lansing United Women Advance to Conference Final

WRITTEN BY: Tori Twining
PUBLISHED ON: July 13, 2018

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Lansing United Women advanced to the United Women’s Soccer Midwest Conference final after a 3 – 0 victory over the Michigan Legends Thursday night.

The hoops got the lead in the first minute of the match and never looked back. Lexi Pelafas headed in a cross sent by Anna Stinson, which proved to be the winning goal.

“We came out excited,” Pelafas said. “We stayed strong the whole half.”

“We talked about the mentality that we needed to start with and we knew that if we jumped on them early that we could probably set the tone for the match,” head coach Jason Crist said.

Lansing controlled the game early, producing several chances to score. In the 12th minute, Aubrey Schierbeek had an opportunity to add to the lead. She made a run into the box and got past the goalie for an empty net shot, but a Legend defender got back in time and blocked the chance. In the 14th minute, Dani Stephan sent a free kick into the box. Alexis Mitchell got a header in front of the net, but the shot went wide left of the goal.

Riko Sagara added to the score sheet in the 26th minute. Her free kick was initially saved, but the keeper dropped the ball and it crossed over for the second goal of the match.

The Legends had their first opportunity to cut the lead in half in the 28th minute. The team was able to get a strong shot off that was headed for the back of the net, but defender Mary Carlson was on the line to block and clear the chance away. Carlson was awarded the Woman of the Match for her strong defensive performance in the back line.

“It’s always a team effort and we always have each other’s back in that back line. I love playing with those girls,” Carlson said. “I listened to Grace, she told us to hold and not go up…It came right at me and I hit it out. I knew I had to take one for the team…It definitely would have changed the game so we had to keep that out of the net.”

“She is an unsung hero of the team…she gets up and down the line, just a tireless worker. She’s great at joining the attack and a great 1 v 1 defender,” Crist said. “For her to get Woman of the Match tonight, I’m excited for her, it’s awesome.”

United went into halftime leading 2 – 0.

“If you can keep a zero on the other side of the scoreboard, odds are good you’re going to win a lot of matches,” Crist said. “I think Grace played well. She didn’t get called into a lot of action tonight, but she did a good job of commanding the back line. I’m happy with our defensive effort.”

In the 48th minute, Pelafas had an opportunity to add another goal. She dribbled into the box, got past defenders and put a strong shot towards goal, but a defender was on the goal line to prevent it.

Pelafas had another opportunity in the 51st minute on a penalty kick. Her initial take hit the goal post and she scored on the rebound, but the referee called the goal back due to Pelafas taking back to back touches.

Madison Costner ended the scoring in the 76th minute with a header that went over the keeper after a few Lansing chances in the box.

United will play the defending national champions, Grand Rapids FC, for the third time this season at 7 PM Saturday night. The game will be played at Archer Stadium. A United win would put the ladies in the UWS National Championship Tournament taking place next weekend.

“It’s perfect,” Pelafas said. “We have to come out and give it our all because GRFC is a good team. [We’ll need to] stay composed and get some rest these next couple days and feel fresh on Saturday.”