Soccer teams ready to improve on last season


Jason Howell

Senior midfielder Molly Hawkins attempts to settle the ball during the Panthers’ 6-0 loss to Northern Kentucky on Sunday at Lakeside Field.

Bob Reynolds, Sports Editor

The Eastern men’s and women’s soccer teams are looking to improve on sub-par seasons last year. The women finished 2-15-2, while the men finished with a record of 3-13-1.

Eastern women’s soccer senior midfielder Molly Hawkins said defense has been the main focus of things to improve this season, because of the Panthers goals against average from last season.

The Panthers allowed 2.58 goals per game last season, and 19.6 shots per game as well.

“If the other team can’t score they can’t win,” Hawkins said. “A strong, solid defense will help us win games.”

Eastern women’s soccer coach Jason Cherry said as a team he wants his defense to get stronger.

“We have to eliminate some goals,” he said. “Our goals against average was too high. If we can get under allowing a goal per game, we will win more games than we lose. “

On the other end of the spectrum, Hawkins said she would like to see her team score more goals. The Panthers through two games have yet to score and last season, her team averaged .95 goals per game through 19 games.

The Panthers are without leading scorer Meagan Radloff, who was lost to graduation. Red-shirt senior Chris Reed returns after scoring five goals and accumulating 11 points in 17 games played.

“Any soccer player can tell you there is no better feeling than scoring a goal and celebrating with your teammates,” Hawkins said. “If we can get a couple goals early in the season, we’ll hopefully have that feeling imprinted in our minds and will strive to keep the scoring going.”

The Eastern men’s soccer team struggled to score goals as well last season with averaging 1.06 goals per game.

The Panthers will be without senior Jake Brillhart this season, who scored 5 goals last season in 17 games played.

Returning will be sophomore Dominic Recca, who scored four goals in 17 games. The Panthers were shutout in seven games last season.

Improvements are expected by the men’s soccer team due to the fact that their new coach, Kiki Lara, has already impressed players on the team, including junior goalkeeper Michael Spencer.

Spencer said Lara’s experience in every level of soccer will be helpful to their team.

“The experience is everything,” he said. “Specifically, I think it will allow him to foster player development. Developing college soccer players requires a specialized knowledge that coach Lara has both as a player and a coach at the college level. His professional experience will only reinforce player development by offering our top talent, now and in the future.”

Senior captain Kyle Callender said Lara has bought in a completey new style of soccer that is working with their teams’ strengths.

“With that being said, we are working to improve our teams’ ability to defend from our front line all the way back to our goalie,” he said. “With us, our best defense will be good offense. We are working on being a better possession bases team that attacks the space with numbers and doesn’t force the issue.”

The Eastern men’s soccer team will open up its season Friday at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Bob Reynolds can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].