Postseason hopes remain alive for Panthers


Jason Howell

Freshman keeper Mike Novotny catches the ball during a match against Western Illinois on Oct. 18 at the Eastern practice field. The Panthers lost to the Leathernecks 1-0.

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

The Eastern men’s soccer team is coming off of an important win on Sunday, when they shutout conference opponent IPFW 2-0 at Lakeside Field.

With the victory over IPFW, Eastern kept its hopes of going to the conference tournament alive. Eastern has three games left on their schedule against Northern Kentucky, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and will finish its season against conference foe Oral Roberts.

Oral Roberts is the only remaining conference game and it is on the road. Oral Roberts will be a must win game, but the Panthers will still have to hope for multiple other teams to lose in the Summit League for them to still have a chance to advance to postseason play.

IUPUI, Oral Roberts and Fort Wayne will all need to lose their remaining conference games for Eastern to end fourth in the Summit League.

Only the top four teams advance into the conference tournament. These teams have all played each other already this season, so Eastern will have to look to teams like Omaha, Western Illinois and Denver to help them it out.

Western is the top team in conference right now followed by Denver, Omaha, IPFW, Oral Roberts, IUPUI and Eastern. Western, Denver, Omaha and IPFW would be in the conference tournament in Denver if the season were to end today.

IUPUI’s Uriel Macias is the leading goal scorer in the Summit League, with seven goals and is tied for first in points with 14. Charlie Bales from Western also has 14 points. The assist leader is Omaha’s Mark Moulton, who has seven assists and 13 points.

Yves Dietrich from Western and Josh Christensen from Omaha are the league’s top goaltenders to this point. Dietrich leads in saves and saves percentage and Christensen leads in goals against and goals against average.

Senior captain Jake Brillhart and Dominic Recca are the Eastern’s leading scorers with four goals each. They each scored goals in the 2-0 win over Fort Wayne. Brillhart has three assists and 11 points this year and Recca has two assists and 10 points.

Freshman goalkeeper Mike Novotny earned his first career shutout for Eastern on Sunday. His record on the year is 2-8 and he has a 1.45 goals against average. He has given up 17 goals this year, while making 43 saves giving him a .717 save percentage.

Eastern has struggled on the road this year with a 0-7 record. The Panthers still have two remaining away games including the game against Oral Roberts. Eastern has not won an away game since 2012.

Eastern will be back in action, starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Highland Heights, Ky., against Northern Kentucky.

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