[Photo provided by James Smith/Chicago Red Stars]
Because the Reserves are so talented, Pelafas doesn’t need to be the primary scorer.
“I think there was always a real focus on her and now we’re getting her to join into the team and see if this player moves into this space, I need to move into a different space,” Kibler said.
"Whereas before I think she drove the direction of the team; where she went, other people responded to her. So we’re getting her to see the other side of that.
“As other players move, she moves into another position that gives her an opportunity to do things where maybe her movement is into a position that creates a space for another player that allows [Pelafas] to get the second ball.”
That thinking process is paying off. Marquette senior Emily Hess, a Batavia resident, has noticed a difference.
“She just has a lot of tenacity,” Hess said. “She’s always trying to get to the ball no matter what.
“Even when the ball is going through and other people might stop, she’s like, ‘No, I’m going to get there.’ I think that’s an awesome attitude to have and it pays off most of the time.”
The chemistry between Pelafas and Hess paid off on June 19, when Hess had two assists, including one on a Pelafas goal, in a 2-0 win over Chicago City.
“She very much likes flicking on, while I like to run onto balls,” Hess said. “So I think we work really well together.
“We’re always joking around, like, all right, your turn to assist and my turn to assist. It’s just been a lot of fun. I love playing with her.”
Pelafas, who is majoring in sports management, will return to Central Michigan in the fall to complete her studies. After that, she hopes to play professionally.
“I’m learning a lot about the process,” Pelafas said. “The past is the past. Now it’s time to reevaluate and try to make the dream a reality.”