Eastern to host Oral Roberts

Vince Lovergine, Men's Soccer Reporter

The Eastern men’s soccer team returns to Lakeside Field Saturday for a three game homestand.

After falling 1-0 in double overtime to Bradley Tuesday, Eastern came out winless on its three-game road trip, and were shutout in every contest.

In fact, the Panthers have not scored in seven consecutive games.

On the bright side, for a struggling Panther offense, they outshot Bradley in the game with 10 shots compared to the Braves six.

Of those 10 shot attempts by Eastern, five of them were on goal.

In a return home, Eastern has its sights set on Oral Roberts in a conference match Saturday.

The Panthers have not fared well so far in conference, with a 0-2-1 Summit League record.

Eastern and Oral Roberts faced each other last season, in Tulsa Okla., where Oral Roberts came out with a 3-2 win.

In that match, Eastern had five shots, three were on goal, but Oral Roberts had 17 shots and eight of those were on goal.

Eastern head coach Kiki Lara said even though his team suffered a loss against Bradley, Eastern improved as a program.

“We grew as a program last night again with a strong performance on both sides of the ball,” he said. “We were strong defensively and committed in all positions. We also got forward well and we’re positive and aggressive with our possession.”

Eastern has been shutout in seven straight games and Lara said Eastern will overcome the hump

“We still have work to do in front of the goal and that is something we’re working on every day,” he said. “That hurdle will pass eventually because of our attention to detail toward creating goals and sustainably as well.”

 Redshirt senior Fabio Callado has only played in three games this season for Eastern, but led the Panthers with three shots, two on goal, and that was noticed by coach Lara. 

“Callado amongst others that have had more minor roles such as Cole Harkrader had strong games and that is testament to their relentless nature and commitment to the program and their objectives of contributing to the program and being prepared to do so,” Lara said.

Eastern has not beat Oral Roberts since 2013, with a 2-1 double overtime victory at Lakeside Field.

While the Panthers have changed their lineup slightly in every game they have played this season, midfielder Christian Sosnowski knows whenever called upon he needs to be ready.

 “You have to be mentally strong and prepare for anything whether you play a few minutes or the whole game,” he said. “You can’t just feel sorry for yourself if you don’t play much in a game because the next game you could be playing the whole game. “It’s all about the right mindset and always being ready no matter what the situation is.”

Sosnowski has been nagged by a groin injury throughout the season.

Oral Roberts and Eastern Illinois start Saturday at 1 p.m,

Vince Lovergine can be reached at 581-5812 or [email protected].