Men’s soccer team in good spot


Bryan Bund

Fabio Collado chases down the ball in the Panthers’ 1-0 overtime win over Oral Roberts Oct. 14 at Lakeside Field. Eastern has three games left this season and one Summit League game and has a chance to make the tournament.

JJ Bullock, Assistant Sports Editor

All season long Eastern men’s soccer coach Kiki Lara has talked about one goal for his team— making a repeat appearance in the Summit League Conference tournament. And with three games left this season, the Panthers are in a pretty good spot to do just that.

Eastern currently occupies the fourth and final tournament slot with four conference points and a 1-2-1 record. The Panthers also hold a key tie-breaker over the team tailing them.

The team right behind them is Oral Roberts with three points and a 1-2 conference record, a team that Eastern beat in possibly its most crucial win of the season on Oct. 14.

Eastern has three games left in the regular season, including one final conference game against the Summit League’s last place team Fort Wayne on Nov. 4.

Oral Roberts has two conference games left against Western Illinois on Oct. 28 and Omaha on Nov. 4 as well. If Oral Roberts beats Omaha and Eastern loses to Fort Wayne, Oral Roberts will get the final spot. If Oral Roberts wins both of its remaining games they will also secure the final spot.

Eastern can clinch a tournament berth with a win over Fort Wayne or an Oral Roberts loss to Omaha and Western Illinois or an Eastern win and just one more Oral Roberts loss.

Defending conference champion Denver is in first place in the league. It has a conference record of 3-0 and nine conference points. They have two conference games remaining against Omaha and Western Illinois.

Western Illinois is in second place in the conference and they will meet Denver in the biggest conference game of the year on Nov. 4 in Denver. Western is 2-1 in conference and has two Summit League games remaining. If Western wins both of its games, it will win the Summit League title.

The third place team in the conference, Omaha, has a conference record of 1-0-2 and has not been eliminated from contention for the Summit League title but needs some help to win it. Omaha has three conference games remaining against Western Illinois, Denver and Oral Roberts.

If Omaha wins all three of those games, it will win the conference. However, if it loses to either Denver or Western Illinois, its chances will dwindle away.

Eastern goalkeeper Mike Novotny sits at the top of the conference in three statistical categories. He leads the conference in saves with 78, a total 12 higher than the second place goalkeeper Thibaut Giquel of Oral Roberts. 

Novotny is also leading in save percentage with .857 and goals against average with .81.

He used to be the save leader of the entire NCAA, but he is now in a tie for seventh place.

Novotny’s play has picked up Eastern who is last in the conference as a team with just six goals this season, seven behind Fort Wayne, the next lowest team. The Panthers are also last in shots with 111.

There are only three teams in the country with less goals than Eastern this season. Howard and Bryant with five and Virginia Military Institute with four.

JJ Bullock can be reached at

581-2812 or [email protected]