Eastern’s soccer to clash against rival Western

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

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In hopes to end a six games losing streak, the Eastern men’s soccer team faces Summit League foe Western Illinois on the road this Saturday.

Western comes into this game after an overtime loss to Drake with a 4-8-1 record. They are currently 1-2 in the Summit League with a win over Omaha. Eastern comes in with a 2-8 record and a 0-2 record in conference.

Head coach Kiki Lara says the team hasn’t lost any motivation during this long losing streak.

“We talk a lot about setting a foundation with a strong culture that will influence the program for many years to come,” he said. “That has been our motivation and that continues to be our motivation. That will not waiver.”

Tyler and Justin Oliver are the leading scorers on Eastern at this point in the year. Tyler lead the team in goals with four and points with eight.

His brother Justin has two goals while leading the team in assists with two. Three players are tied with one assist. The Oliver brothers each have a game-winning goal.

Lara has started making some changes to the practices and lineups in hope to get different results than they’ve been getting.

“We have made minor changes in team selection and preparation based on the length of time between games,” he said. “We also have made minor changes to training time and what we do in training because we cannot keep doing the same things and expect different results.  We are also in a time of the season where developing good mentality and approach to our preparation is more so important than what we are teaching.”

Eastern is going to have to start the road back into the win column against Western’s freshman goalkeeper and junior forward Drew Whalen who won the weekly Summit League Offensive and Defense Player’s of the week.

Corrie has a 3-4 record and has a goal against average of 1.47. He has 37 saves and has only given up nine goals. All of his losses this season have come by only one goal and he has one shutout.

Eastern sophomore goalkeeper Mike Novotny is coming off of a game where he gave up four goals against Fort Wayne while making five saves.

Lara sees growth from his young team as improving the players is part of the process of a first year head coach.

“We have had a number of guys grow continuously in training and matches and therefore are putting them selves in playing position,” he said. “That is a big part of our program. We want guys to have a growth mindset and not stay static throughout the season. Improving ourselves is all we really want to be doing. Accumulation of that growth will lead to progress for us.”

They’ll look to show their progress on Saturday at 1 p.m.

 

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