Men’s soccer team sits at bottom of standings

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

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After 10 games, including two conference games, the Eastern men’s soccer team finds themselves at the bottom of the Summit League standings.

Eastern’s two conference losses came against Oral Roberts and Fort Wayne. They are currently in a six game losing streak dating back to September 6th. The University of Denver is the top team in conference at this point in the season, still without a loss in regulation.

Denver, Oral Roberts, Omaha and Fort Wayne round out the top four of the Summit League. Eastern has already faced both Oral Roberts and Fort Wayne and fell short in both.

Eastern head coach Kiki Lara understands the importance of the rest of the games.

“We want to approach all games like they are a must-win,” he said. “That is the challenge of Division I men’s soccer. There are no easy wins.  There are no easy games.  Every game is incredibly difficult to separate ourselves from the opponent, so every approach and mindset is to learn how to treat every game as if its a must-win. Our time is limited, so things have to be more urgent but not rushed.”

Eastern still has to take on Summit League opponents Western Illinois, Indiana-Purdue University at Indianapolis, Denver and Omaha. Although they have zero points in conference, three points separate them from fourth place Fort Wayne and Western Illinois.

Five of Eastern’s eight losses have been by two goals or less.

“Sometimes results are deceiving, and those student-athletes that have improved immensely and grown in maturity have not been given the tangible measurement of wins,” Lara said. “However, we know that many of us have grown as people, players and students. In the end, that is one of our major goals this year.”

Lara has the team working on taking the steps to get the results they want.

“At the same time, there are some things that have been consistent this year with our group that continue to hinder us from making the important stride of gaining wins in that side of the column,” he said. “So we continue to chip away.”

The top four teams in the league compete in a tournament at the end of the year to determine the winner of the conference.

 

Summit League Players of the Week

 

Western Illinois forward Drew Whalen was named Summit League Men’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week and teammate goalkeeper Bruce Corrie earned the league’s Defensive Player of the Week, along with Denver goalkeeper Dan Jackson.

In Whalen’s case, it is the junior’s first time winning this award, and he earned it by scoring two goals in the final five-and-a-half minutes to lift WIU over Omaha 2-1. Those were his fifth and sixth goals, working into his league-leading 14 points.

Whalen’s goalkeeper Corrie was also a first-time recipient of the weekly award. The freshman recorded his first career shutout in the 1-0 win over Bradley where he had eight saves. He had six saves in the win over Omaha, giving him 14 saves and a .933 save percentage for the week. His .809 save percentage on the season ranks second in the league.

Denver’s senior goalkeeper, Jackson, is collecting his second weekly award of the season after he earned his sixth shutout of the season in a 1-0 victory at Oral Roberts Saturday. Denver also defeated Gonzaga, a non-conference opponent, to extend the nation’s longest home unbeaten streak to 25.

 

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