Men’s soccer team finishing up non-conference play

Mark Shanahan, Assistant Sports Editor

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Freshman forward Alex Castaneda looks for an open teammate during the Panthers’ 3-0 loss to Valparaiso Sept. 27 at Lakeside Field. Castaneda had 1 shot on goal during the match.

Lauren McQueen
Freshman forward Alex Castaneda looks for an open teammate during the Panthers’ 3-0 loss to Valparaiso Sept. 27 at Lakeside Field. Castaneda had 1 shot on goal during the match.

Following their first road victory of the season, the Eastern men’s soccer team will try to keep the ball rolling in its final non-conference matchup against the Cincinnati Bearcats on Wednesday night.

The trip to Cincinnati concludes a four-game road trip, which the Panthers are currently 1-2 on after a 1-0 victory over Northern Illinois last Tuesday.

Sophomore Brendan McDonough netted his first goal of the season to help Eastern snap a seven-game losing streak.

McDonough is the 10th different scorer for the Panthers this year as they all have one goal each. Sophomore Julian Montoya had the assist on McDonough’s goal last week, which gives him two on the season, joining freshman teammate Yann Nsoga for the team lead.

With the one goal victory over Northern Illinois, that is now nine matches this season where the game was decided by one goal for Eastern.

Eastern has a record of 3-9-1 overall and 0-3 in Summit League play leading up to the matchup against Cincinnati who is 8-4-1 overall and 3-1 in the American Athletic Conference.

Five of the eight wins have come at home for the Bearcats this season.

The Bearcats’ offense is led by Adam Wilson and Ryan Melink, but there are many other player on the team with multiple goals.

Wilson has a team-high 16 points with 10 assists and three goals.

Melink is right behind him with 13 points and leads the team with five goals, while adding three assists.

Melink was picked as Offensive Player of the Week in the AAC after totaling six points in two games in matches against IUPUI and Temple.

Against IUPUI, he had a goal and an assist in the 3-0 victory and had the same in a 4-0 win over Temple.

Goalkeeper Pedro Diaz was named the conference goalkeeper of the week with his pair of shutouts last week. Diaz had four saves against IUPUI and recorded a season-high seven saves in the victory over Temple.

He is now ranked 25th nationally with seven shutouts this season. Diaz is ranked 24th nationally in saves per match with 4.92 and leads the conference.

Wednesday night’s match will be the eighth meeting between Eastern and Cincinnati.

Eastern holds the 4-3 series lead, but the Bearcats came away with the victory in their last meeting in 2014 with a 1-0 overtime win.

Following Wednesday night’s game at Cincinnati, Eastern will return home for its final two home games against Summit League opponents Fort Wayne and Western Illinois.

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