Men’s soccer team hosting Western for final home game


Lauren McQueen

Freshman defender Anton Olsson attempts to ground a high ball sent down the field from Fort Wayne goalkeeper Jorge Trujillo during the Panthers’ 1-0 win Sunday at the west practice field. Olsson had one shot in the match.

Mark Shanahan, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern men’s soccer team faces off with in-state rival the Western Illinois Leathernecks Saturday afternoon as the Panthers try to keep their postseason chances alive.
Eastern comes into the match at 4-9-1 and 1-3 in Summit League play. They are on a two-game winning streak after a big 1-0 victory over Fort Wayne last Sunday. The Panthers secured their first conference win behind junior goalkeeper Mike Novotny, who made six saves. He was awarded the Summit League Co-Defensive Player of the Week.
Novotny is third in the Summit League for total saves (42) and is fourth for minutes played (1155:00), save percentage (.724) and goals against average (1.25). He also has three shutouts so far this season.
Western comes into the match with a 6-8-1 record overall and a 2-2 record in conference play. They are currently on a three-game losing streak after losses to Denver, Omaha and Wisconsin. The Leathernecks have struggled on the road this season with a 1-6-1 record.
Western, IUPUI, Fort Wayne and Eastern all play each other to determine who will get the last two spots in the conference tournament. Eastern currently has three points in the conference while Western has six.
Western won big in the meeting against the Panthers last year with a 6-0 victory. Jacob Bevan and Fernando Pacheco each scored in the game last year, and they are the current point leaders for the Leathernecks.
Bevan leads the team in goals, shots on goal and points with eight goals, 16 shots on goal and 18 points. Two of the goals Bevan scored were game-winning goals. Pacheco is second on the team in points with 12 and has 11 shots in goal. He has four goals and assists this season. Daniel Collins is the team leader in assists with five; he has two goals to give him nine points on the year.
This is the 54th meeting all-time between the two teams. Eastern holds the all-time series lead 32-16-5.
Tim Hansen has been at goalkeeper for all six of the Western wins. He has a record of 6-6 with 39 saves. He has a save percentage of .722 and has four shutouts this season.
The point leaders for Eastern are senior Davis Wegmann and freshman Alex Castaneda with four points each. They both have two goals and zero assists. Castaneda leads the team in shots on goal with nine. The assist leaders on the team are sophomore Julian Montoya and freshman Yann Nsoga with two each. Montoya has a goal on the season.
The match is set to take place 1 p.m. Saturday at Lakeside Field.

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