Men’s soccer plays 1-1 draw

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Men’s soccer plays 1-1 draw

Freshman Dominic Recca (left) sends the ball into the back of the net to give the Panthers the only goal against Denver at the practice field on Saturday.  The game ended in a 1-1 tie and brought the Panthers to 0-1-1 in the OVC and 2-6-1 overall.

Freshman Dominic Recca (left) sends the ball into the back of the net to give the Panthers the only goal against Denver at the practice field on Saturday. The game ended in a 1-1 tie and brought the Panthers to 0-1-1 in the OVC and 2-6-1 overall.

Jason Howell

Freshman Dominic Recca (left) sends the ball into the back of the net to give the Panthers the only goal against Denver at the practice field on Saturday. The game ended in a 1-1 tie and brought the Panthers to 0-1-1 in the OVC and 2-6-1 overall.

Jason Howell

Jason Howell

Freshman Dominic Recca (left) sends the ball into the back of the net to give the Panthers the only goal against Denver at the practice field on Saturday. The game ended in a 1-1 tie and brought the Panthers to 0-1-1 in the OVC and 2-6-1 overall.

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

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The Eastern men’s soccer team earned its first point in conference play after tying defending Summit League champion Denver 1-1 Saturday.

The game was relocated from Lakeside Field to Eastern’s practice field because of standing water on the game field.

Eastern head coach Mark Hansen said Lakeside Field was not up to the standards to play on.

“It wouldn’t have been safe conditions to play on,” he said.

The first-year head coach said the Panthers reacted better to the new playing field than Denver did.

“Both teams had to play on it, both teams had to deal with it,” Hansen said. “I think our guys responded better to it and our guys handled it better.”

After a scoreless first half of play, Denver got on the board first after one of its players was taken down in the box, leading to a penalty kick. Brian Hoyt scored the penalty kick in the 65th minute past a diving effort from Eastern’s goalkeeper Mike Novotny.

Hansen did not agree with the penalty call.

“Their only goal came on a very poor PK call,” he said.

Eastern answered in the 70th minute with a goalie from freshman Dominic Recca. His third goal of the year was assisted by Jake Brillhart, who crossed the ball in front of the goal for Recca to touch in.

Denver outshot Eastern 18-4, while having a 7-1 advantage with shots on goal. Novotny made six saves for the Panthers.

Denver goalie Oliver Brown started the game, but was removed in the 19th minute after suffering a head injury.

“The goal keeper came out to punch it away, Boswell actually got tangled with another player and as they were both going to the ground I think their keeper landed on one of their players cleats,” Hansen said.

Ryan Massey, who gave up the lone goal, replaced Brown. Neither of the goalies made a save in the game.

Each team played to their first draw of the season. Eastern’s record is now 2-6-1 and 0-1-1 in conference play, while Denver is 6-3-1 and 1-0-1 in the Summit League.

Hansen said he knew the weather would be a factor in the game.

“When you’re playing in 20 mph winds it’s going to be difficult to play, but it’s difficult for both teams so both teams need to respond to it,” he said.

After losing 2-0 to Denver last year, Hansen had to find ways to match the defending conference champion – one of them was to be more aggressive.

“We went at them from the start,” he said. “We hit the post in overtime that could’ve won it.”

Hansen still sees room for improvement.

“We would like to try and get more guys forward, you got to get guys forward to score goals,” he said. “On our one goal it was great build up and a great ball across and Dominic got across to finish it.”

Eastern is back on the road, playing against IUPUI at noon Saturday in Indianapolis, Ind.

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