The men’s soccer team will officially begin conference play on Saturday when they travel to Tulsa, Okla., to play Oral Roberts.
Eastern is in the midst of a three-game road stand and has dropped the first two against Western Michigan and Wright State. Oral Roberts, Eastern’s first Summit League opponent of the season, is 3-3-1 up to this point in the season.
Oral Roberts started off the season with wins against Incarnate Word and Michigan State, but then the team dropped three straight to fall under .500. The losses came on the road against Gonzaga and Washington, and then at home to Incarnate Word.
Their last two games both needed overtime for the decision. They beat Houston Baptist at home and just recently ended in a draw at Missouri State last Saturday.
The point leader for Oral Roberts is junior midfielder Santiago Riveros with nine points through seven games. He has two goals and five assists on the season.
Red-shirt senior forward Matthew Rogers also has two goals so far; they are the team leaders in that category.
Red-shirt freshman goalkeeper Parker Johnson has started every game so far and has recorded two shutouts. He has 23 saves while giving up 8 goals, giving him a .742 save percentage.
Ryan Bush is the coach of Oral Roberts, and he took over for the team prior to the 2013 season. Like men’s coach Kiki Lara for Eastern, Bush also coaches the women’s soccer team for his respective program.
Bush has an overall record of 14-16-6 with the men’s team.
Eastern comes into the matchup with a record of 2-4-1.
The Panthers hosted Oral Roberts last season and lost 2-1 on a goal in the second half of overtime.
Junior goalkeeper Mike Novotny was asked to make seven saves in that game while letting up two goals.
Eastern and Oral Roberts are now 5-5-1 all-time when facing each other.
The Panthers have been spreading the wealth when it comes to scoring with eight different players having one goal.
Freshman Yann Nsoga is the team leader in assists with two.
Novotny has been the starting goalkeeper for all seven games this season with a save percentage of .682.
All four of Eastern’s losses have come by a goal this year, and the Panthers have been shut out twice.
The Panthers are still looking for the first road win of the season with a record of 0-2-1 away from Lakeside Field.
The match is set to begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Oral Roberts.
Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]