Men’s soccer team falls to Western

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

The Eastern men’s soccer team lost its third straight match after being defeated by in-state rival Western Illinois 1-0 on Saturday. The game was played on Eastern’s practice field.

Western Illinois is now 8-4-1 and a perfect 3-0 in conference play while Eastern falls to 2-9-1 and 0-3-1 in conference. Western has won all of its conference matches 1-0 this year.

The first half was scoreless but heavily dominated by Western. Eastern was outshot in the first half 12-5 and Western earned themselves five corner kicks in the first half.

29 minutes into the match, Conor Bartuch drew a red card, which made Eastern have to go the rest of the game a man down. Eastern head coach Mark Hansen thought that played a big factor in the game.

“The biggest thing that affected the game was the early red card and it changed the face of the game.”

Western scored the match’s only goal six minutes into the second half when Mario Alvarez’s shot hit off goalkeeper Mike Novotny’s chest and rebounded it back to Alvarez who hit it into the back of the net. This was his third goal of the season.

Novotny made a season-high nine saves for Eastern while conceiving one goal. Eastern was outshot 25-8 in the game and Eastern had three shots on net. Yves Dietrich earned his seventh shutout of the season for Western.

This was Dietrich sixth consecutive shut out, he has eight wins this season.  Novotny is now 1-7 on the season and he has given up just one goal in eight games this season.

Overall, there were seven yellow cards and two red cards handed out in the match. One of the yellow cards was given to the Western bench and one of the red cards was given to Hansen after a missed call. Hansen didn’t think he deserved a red card.

“The referee blatantly missed a play that directly gave Western an opportunity on goal,” he said. “It was the first time I said anything to him all game and when you’re going to give the Western coach a yellow and just tell him to calm down then it should be consistent and unfortunately he wasn’t.”

Hansen prepared for a match he knew would be tough.

“I think when you’re playing a man down and you lose 1-0 on an unlucky break on a breakaway that was saved,” he said. “We had a lot of chances and western had five shutouts in a row previously so we knew it was going to be tough we knew it was going to be a 1-0, 1-1 type of game and unfortunately they were the ones that found a goal today.”

Eastern is home again on Tuesday when they face non-conference opponent Green Bay at 3 pm.

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