Hill, Panthers’ offseason work shows in preseason

J.J. Bullock, Men's Soccer Reporter

Despite being just an exhibition contest, which would have no ramifications toward the team’s overall record, the Eastern men’s soccer team’s matchup against the University of Illinois- Springfield was not a meaningless affair.

The game resulted in a 1-1 draw, giving Eastern head coach Kiki Lara one last look at his team before the regular season begins.

“Really, I’m trying to see which combinations would work for next Friday night,” Lara said. “You know before that first game of the season you’ve got to figure out who can go for so long, so I really wanted to push everybody.”

For the players, starters and reserves alike, the matchup would offer value in the form of additional playing.

“To me, it’s a lot (of value) because last year it was a tough season, didn’t see much playing time,” red-shirt freshman goalkeeper R.J. Hill said. “But the hard work I put in this summer, it’s starting to show off, and (I’m) starting to see some playing time, full game, 90 minutes.”

The product of the hard work put in by Hill and the rest of the team in the offseason also revealed itself during the exhibition game.

“It’s showing around all the team. We played well today; we worked hard as a team. Tough tie, but it means a lot — I’m happy about it,” Hill said. “It was a pretty good game, we’ve had a pretty tough preseason. We’ve been doing lots of hard work; we’ve been running our butts off, so we’re feeling a little fatigued, but we worked hard today, and it’s just another we will get back.”

J.J. Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]