Men’s soccer team hosts Omaha Saturday

Vince Lovergine, Men's Soccer Reporter

The Eastern men’s soccer team is back at Lakeside Field Saturday to take on Omaha.

This will wrap up Eastern’s mini two-game home-stand, before hitting the road again for a three-game road trip.

The last time these two teams met was last year in the Summit League Tournament, where Omaha got the 3-1 win.

Omaha has a 7-1 record on the campaign, while it had a six-game win streak snapped by Northern Illinois in a 1-0 shutout.

The Mavericks have not lost a game at home or on the road this year, while their only loss in a neutral match.

Omaha has given up only five goals this season, which is one less than Eastern has scored all year. The Mavericks have a positive goal differential, scoring 15 goals through eight matches, while only letting up five.

The Panthers ride a three-game losing streak coming into this weekend’s matchup, and in those three games, Eastern has not scored.

Omaha has scored four of their 15 goals in road matches this season, while they have scored 11 goals in home matches this season.

Senior goalkeeper Mike Novotny said it will be huge for his team to get a win.

“We are playing arguably the best team in the conference, and to get a result against them will be huge going forward for us,” he said. “We need to start off conference the right way.”

After letting up two goals in the loss to Wright State, Novotny still ranks No. 1 in the NCAA in saves with 56, and he also ranks first in minutes played with 890.

As a team coming into the weekend, Eastern ranks 11th in the NCAA in save percentage at .862, where Michigan State ranks No. 1.

With having the most shots in the game against Wright State, Novotny said it takes the pressure off him.

“Puts a little pressure off me and the defense when we are controlling the ball in their half and creating chances, Novtony said.”

Elvir Ibisevic leads the Mavericks in all the major offensive categories, as he leads his team in goals with six, assists with 13 and shots at 21, while 11 of those shots have been on goal.

Ibisevic is ranked third in the NCAA with three, and he ranks fifth in the NCAA with his six goals.

Eastern and Omaha will be in action Saturday at 11 a.m. at Lakeside Field.

Vince Lovergine can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]