A look at men’s soccer, Summit League

Mark Shanahan, Assistant Sports Editor

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Teammates Jacob Lysik (3) and Davis wegmann (21) defend a pass during a match agasint Marshall on Sunday at Lakeside Field. The Panthers lost to the Thundering Herd 0-1.

Bryan Bund
Teammates Jacob Lysik (3) and Davis wegmann (21) defend a pass during a match agasint Marshall on Sunday at Lakeside Field. The Panthers lost to the Thundering Herd 0-1.

With each team in the Summit League three or four games into the season, it looks like Denver is the team to beat, like most predicted at the start of the year.

Denver started off the season with a 1-1 draw against No. 30 ranked Monmouth on the road. Since then, Denver has won three straight road games with the notable win being against No. 25 ranked Rutgers. Those wins were each by one goal, so this team is already battle tested, and it is still early in the season. Denver is currently ranked 13th.

While Denver has yet to lose in regulation, there are still two Summit League teams that have yet to get their first win. Western Illinois has a record of 0-3-1, and IUPUI is 0-3. Western and IUPUI have a common trend of letting up a lot more goals than each have scored. Western has scored four goals so far while giving up 10. IUPUI has a much wider margin, giving up 14 goals compared to only two goals that the team has scored.

Western and IUPUI have the first Summit League match of the year on Sept. 23rd. Omaha, who is currently second in the conference, is 2-1-1 right now with the loss coming against 22nd-ranked Connecticut. Their tie came against Creighton, and both of those games were on the road.

This leads me to believe that Denver will run away with this league once again. It might just be the beginning of the year, but it looks like Denver is close to midseason form from a tough non-conference schedule.

Junior goalkeeper Mike Novotny is the only player from Eastern to be one of the top five at his position. Novotny is tied for fourth in goals against with four. The leader is Raphael Kotzock from Fort Wayne who has let up one goal in two starts. Novotny also ranks among the best in goals-against average and save percentage.

There are three players leading the Summit League with two goals each. Those players are Fazlo Alihodzic (Omaha), Jacob Murphy (Fort Wayne) and Alex Underwood (Denver). Alihodzic was named the Offense Player of the Week with his two goals and two assists last week. He was a part of the three goals in the 3-0 win over Drake and had the lone goal in the tie against Drake.

Denver’s Kortne Ford earned the Defensive Player of the Week honor as he led the Pioneer defense to two shutouts last week. He also added a goal in the victory against UIC.

Summit League members will need to use the remaining non-conference games to prepare for a competitive conference schedule.

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