The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Piekarski gets finishing touch

Junior midfielder Zach Piekarski scored the Panther’s first goal of the season, but more importantly he gave Eastern their first win against Western Illinois Wednesday.

With just seven minutes remaining in the game, Piekarski passed the ball up to junior midfielder Ryan Child. Child made a move against a defenseman and passed to a wide-open Piekarski.

The right-footed Piekarski put the shot in the back of the net with a powerful left foot to the lower left corner.

“It felt good, it felt really good,” Piekarski said. “I didn’t even think about it, I just put my foot through it and it went in.”

Western is a future conference opponent for Eastern, who will move from the Missouri Valley Conference to the Summit League next year.

The win proves that the Panthers will be able to contend in the Summit because Western won the conference tournament last year.

The win improves the Panther’s record to 1-3 and their record against rival Western stands at 32-11-5.

Eastern coach Adam Howarth said he was happy with the intensity the team displayed.

“It was nice,” Howarth said. “I think the effort was good. I think we started off real well, we had five or six corners in the first five minutes so I think that set the tone for us and it was worthy of a good win,” Howarth said.

The game was physical. Three minutes into the game the Leathernecks lost one of their starting defenseman Oskar Gasecki to an ankle injury.

The Panthers were also unable to avoid the injury bug losing starting midfielder Darby Kehoe to a knee injury.

“Darby had a blow to the knee so we are just going to see what happens to him, hopefully he will be in good shape,” Howarth said.

Eastern also had a minor scare when goalkeeper Sean Molony went up for a save with three minutes left and was taken out by a Western forward. He was able to finish off his first shutout of the year but was shaken up after the game.

“He is a trooper I think that he will be fine, it just went a little bit strange there with a good ding to the head,” Howarth said.

Junior defenseman Graham Lynch said that he is feeling very good about the direction the team is going.

“I am feeling very confident,” Lynch said.

Piekarski said that this team can play at a much higher level and they are going to try and prove their doubters wrong.

“We can definitely play a lot better than we did today, but if we play at this intensity, and we score goals, we are definitely going to win more games than we are predicted,” Piekarski said.

The Panthers return to action on the road Saturday against DePaul at 4 p.m.

Eastern looks to continue their success against DePaul. The Panthers hold a 2-0 all-time record against the Blue Demons.

Rob Mortell can be reached at 581-7944 or at

Piekarski gets finishing touch

Piekarski gets finishing touch

Eastern Illinois midfielder Jonathan Hinds defends the ball against Western Illinois Wednesday afternoon at Lakeside Field. (Kacie Berry/Daily Eastern News)


Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

Commenting on the Daily Eastern News web site is a privilege, not a right. We reserve the right to remove comments that contain obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language. Also, comments containing personal attacks or threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
All The Daily Eastern News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest