Eastern falls short to Western Michigan


Jason Howell

Jason Howell | The Daily Eastern News Senior forward Jake Brillhart sprints after the ball during a match against Culver-Stockton on Sept. 8 at Lakeside Field. The Panthers beat the Wildcats 5-1. Brillhart had two goals during the game. After losing to Western Michigan 2-1 on Sunday, the Panthers are 2-3 overall.

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

The Eastern men’s soccer team dropped a close one at Western Michigan Sunday to fall to 2-3 on the season. The Panthers lost 2-1 to the Broncos.

Western Michigan began the scoring in the 22nd minute when Jason Grant scored his first goal of the season. Brandon Bye and Sean Conerty assisted him.

Head coach Mark Hansen called this a possession game between two very different styles of play.

“First half went smoothly for us and we were unfortunate to be trailing going into half,” he said. “We could’ve easily been up 1-0.”

In the 58th minute captain Jake Brillhart scored his team-high third goal for Eastern to tie the game. Will Butler assisted him on the goal.  After Eastern tied it, the Panthers immediately hit the post and crossbar in their next possessions but could not score.

Four minutes later in the 62nd minute, Western Michigan’s Carlos Suarez scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal. This was his first goal of the season. Sean Hazen and Esteban Russell assisted him.

Eastern was only outshot 10-7 in the game. Goalkeeper Chase Rau for Western Michigan gave up one goal while making three saves. Mike Novotny gave up two goals while also making three saves.

Hansen decided to go with the true freshman goalie for the second straight game.

“Mike has done tremendous,” he said. “He’s making the saves he needs too.”

Hansen is pleased with his team’s performance in the close loss.

“They battled until the very end,” he said. “We’re not going to put our heads down, we’re going to keep going forward.”

Eastern had two good chances from Jake Brillhart and Justin Oliver near the end of the game. Brillhart’s chance was blocked in front of the net and Chase Rau made the save on Oliver’s shot.

Western Michigan is now 3-2-1 on the season and is currently on a three game winning streak after defeating Butler and Eastern at home last weekend.

This was the first of four straight road games for Eastern. The Panthers travel to Bowling Green this Friday. Bowling Green is currently 4-1 on the season.

Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]