A big six save performance from junior goalkeeper Mike Novotny helped the Eastern men’s soccer team end a seven-game losing streak on Tuesday night.
Eastern beat the Northern Illinois Huskies, 1-0, with a goal from sophomore Brendan McDonough in the second half. This was the first time the Panthers have won on the road this season — a road losing streak that dated back to last September.
Eastern and Northern both started off fast with both teams trading shots in the beginning minutes. Sophomore Trevor Kerns had a shot on goal in the 4th minute, but Drew Donnally of Northern made his first save of the game.
Northern then threatened with two corners in the 6th minute but came away with no shots. Freshman Alex Castaneda then had the second shot on goal for Eastern in the game in the 11th minute, but Donnally came up with another save.
The Huskies went on the offensive attack in the 15th minute with a shot on goal from Christian Molina, but Novotny made the save. Three minutes later, Kevin Rodriguez shot one wide left of the goal and no save was needed to be made by Novotny. Northern had a chance to take the lead in the final minutes of the first half, but Adrain Coardos’ shot went off the post.
Northern began the second half by putting the pressure on the defense with another shot that hit the post; this one was by Rodriguez in the 55th minute. Rodriguez came back with another shot in the 60th and was denied by Novotny. Senior Davis Wegmann shot one wide left in the 66th minute, but Eastern was able to keep the pressure on with four straight corners in the 69th and 70th minutes.
Then in the 70th minute, McDonough put Eastern ahead with his first goal of the season. The assist came from sophomore Julian Montoya off of a giveaway, and he sent a cross from the left that McDonough put past Donnally for the goal. This was the first time Eastern has scored in four games and it proved to be the winning goal.
Molina and the Huskies stormed back down the field for a shot on goal in the 71st minute, but Novotny stopped him again. Ethan Pitre was denied by Novotny in the 80th and 85th minutes. Molina had a final chance for the Huskies in the 87th minute but again could not get it past the Eastern goalkeeper.
McDonough, Christian Sosnowski and Castaneda each led Eastern in shots with two apiece. McDonough was the only one on the team to register two shots on goal. Molina led Northern with four shots, three of them being on goal. Rodriguez had three shots, one on goal. Donnally made four saves in the match.
Eastern will now have an eight-day break before traveling to Cincinnati next Wednesday.
Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]