Men’s soccer faces turning point in matchup against NKU

Maher Kawash, Staff Reporter

With a 2-9 record on the year, the Eastern Illinois men’s soccer team heads into a vital non-conference matchup against Northern Kentucky as they try to flip the script on their season.

The Panthers take on NKU on Wednesday at 3 p.m. in the first of a two-game home stand.

“We are extremely hungry and motivated to get a positive result against NKU,” senior Nick Smith said. “We are optimistic, because we know what we are capable of doing.”

There is a sense of urgency from the team as they are heading into a crucial stretch of games in hopes of changing their fortunes this season.

“This game can turn our season around,” sophomore goalkeeper Mike Novotny said. “We just need to get the mentality that we can beat any team that steps on our field.”

The Panthers are coming off a 6-0 loss to Western Illinois, their seventh consecutive loss of the season.

“We’re struggling to score offensively and defensively at the moment,” sophomore Justin Oliver said. “We’re looking to break this seven game losing streak against NKU, and come out on top with a win for our fans at home.”

Eastern will matchup against a NKU team who is 6-4-3 on the season, and first place in the Horizon League.

“We are expecting to see a well-organized team that is committed to getting numbers behind the ball,” Eastern coach Kiki Lara said. “It will be important to move the ball effectively, and break them down with relentless dynamic movement.”

The Panthers season continues to be in a rebuild as they have not won a game since their Sept. 6 game against Robert Morris.

Although they are in a rebuilding season, Lara continues to stress the basics to his team.

“A commitment to the system of play and a belief in themselves and each other is what will turn this season into one where we grow immensely,” Lara said.

Even with the losses mounting, players on the team don’t seem to be giving up on this season.

“We’re just looking to get back on track and start playing good soccer again,” Oliver said. “We just need to gain some confidence and momentum heading into this weekend’s conference game against IUPUI.”

The Panthers may be able to end this seven-game losing streak by playing NKU at the right time, as the Norse are coming off a loss and a tie in their last two games.


Maher Kawash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]