Men’s soccer team in must-win mode

Mark Shanahan, Assistant Sports Editor

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Freshman midfielder Cole Harkrader looks for an open teammate during the Panthers’ 3-0 loss to Valparaiso Tuesday, Sept. 27, at Lakeside Field. Harkrader had one shot in the match.

Lauren McQueen
Freshman midfielder Cole Harkrader looks for an open teammate during the Panthers’ 3-0 loss to Valparaiso Tuesday, Sept. 27, at Lakeside Field. Harkrader had one shot in the match.

With three games remaining in the season, the time is now for the Eastern men’s soccer team to win if they want a chance at the postseason tournament.

The remaining games are all Summit League matchups, and Eastern is fortunate to have the next two on its home field. First up is the Fort Wayne Mastodons, who come to Lakeside Field for a matchup on Sunday to wrap up Homecoming week.

Fort Wayne comes into the match with a 1-2 Summit League record and a 7-7 record overall. They are currently on a three-game losing streak where they also have been held scoreless.

Eastern and Fort Wayne have each played conference opponents Denver, Omaha and Oral Roberts, but Fort Wayne was able to defeat Oral Roberts, a team Eastern lost to by one goal.

Eastern comes into the matchup well rested after its game against Cincinnati was postponed on Wednesday because severe weather.

The Panthers have a record of 3-9-1 and 0-3 in conference play. They earned a 1-0 victory over Northern Illinois last time out on Oct. 11.

A win for Fort Wayne would put them in a tie for the fourth spot in the Summit League standings, while a win for Eastern would put them just three points out of the final spot for the postseason tournament.

Oscar Uyamadu and Jacob Murphy, who each have six goals, lead the Mastodons on offense. Uyamadu has 14 points with his two assists and Murphy has 13 points on the year with one assist. Uyamadu also leads the team in shots (57), shots on goal (20) and game winning goals (3).

The assist leaders on the team are Will Hunt and Edel Ensaldo-Bustos with three each. Zach Tom is another player to watch for Fort Wayne, as he has five goals and two assists this year.

Goalkeeper Jorge Trujillo has started 11 games this season for the Mastodons and has a record of 6-5. He has 39 saves this year with a goals against average of 2.04. He has also been responsible for one shutout this season.

This will be the 15th meeting between the two schools, and Eastern currently leads the all-time series 9-5.

Eastern fell to Fort Wayne, 4-2, last year on the road. In 2014, Eastern’s lone Summit League victory came in a 2-0 shutout over Fort Wayne.

With a win, Eastern will have more than three victories in a season for the first time since 2011.

The match will start at 11 a.m. Sunday at Lakeside Field.

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