Panthers enter final game with 2-game losing streak

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Jason Howell

Jason Howell | The Daily Eastern News Red-shirt senior midfielder Chris Boswell anticipates a header during the Panthers' 4-3 extra time loss to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Tuesday at Lakeside Field. Boswell had one shot on goal during the match.

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

The Eastern men’s soccer team is on a two-game losing streak after losing to Northern Kentucky and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. The Panthers play their final game on the road against conference opponent Oral Roberts, starting at 7 p.m. Saturday in Tulsa, Okla.

Eastern needs a win over Oral Roberts and will need several other teams in conference to lose or tie for the Panthers to have a chance of qualifying for the Summit League tournament. The Panthers only have one win in conference this year against Fort Wayne and a tie against Denver at home.

First-year head coach Mark Hansen has improved Eastern, which won just one game last season. The Panthers are currently 3-12-1 and 1-3-1 in the Summit League. Eastern has struggled on the road, though, with a 0-8 record away from Lakeside Field.

Senior captain Jake Brillhart is the Eastern’s leading goal scorer with five goals and four assists. Freshman Dominic Recca is the Panthers’ second leading scorer with four goals and three assists. Senior Will Butler also has three assists along with two goals.

Freshman goalkeeper Mike Novotny has appeared in 14 games this season for Eastern, going 2-10 as a starter. He has one career shutout and has made 55 saves this year, while allowing 22 goals.

Around the Summit League:

Johnny Chavez from Oral Roberts and Uriel Macias are the league leaders in goals with seven each. Mark Moulton from Omaha is the league leader in assists with seven. He has three goals this year and two of them have been game winners. Brillhart is tied for third with his four assists. Brillhart is also tied for third in points with 14. Chavez is the league’s leader with 16 points.

Western Illinois goalkeeper Yves Dietrich is the league’s leader in saves and save percentage. Novotny ranks fourth in the Summit with his 56 saves this season. Josh Christensen from Omaha leads the goalkeepers in goals against with four and goals-against average with a .54 rating. Novotny is ranked fifth with a goals-against average of 1.59.

Offensive players of the week in the Summit were Corey Tom from Fort Wayne and Joshua Ayala from IUPUI.

Tom earned his second award this season after a three-point week that helped lead Fort Wayne to two victories. Tom had the assist in the 1-0 crucial win over Omaha that put Fort Wayne from sixth to second in the conference standings. He also had an unassisted game-winning goal against in-state rival Valparaiso for Fort Wayne’s first victory over Valparaiso since 1986.

Freshman Ayala won his first career award after scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 much needed victory over conference opponent Denver. This was his second goal of the season and they have both been game winners.

Defensive players of the week were goalkeepers Cody Schweitzer of Fort Wayne and Eduardo Cortes for IUPUI.

Schweitzer, a freshman, won his first career award after earning his first conference shutout in a must-win game against Omaha. His seven-save performance kept Fort Wayne in contention for the conference tournament.

Junior goalkeeper Cortes won his first award of the year after shutting out the league’s top scoring team Denver. He recorded four saves and his ninth career shutout in IUPUI’s win.

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