Men’s soccer conference foes start well

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern men’s soccer team is the only Summit League member to finish the preseason without a victory.

Three teams, Denver, Western Illinois and Fort Wayne, all won one match, and Oral Roberts won both of its preseason matches.

Omaha lost its one exhibition match so far against Creighton 2-1, but Omaha won all four of its matches of its Tour of Canada.

Going into the season, Denver was voted by the Summit League coaches as the favorite to win the conference for the sixth straight year. The Pioneers are winners of at least a share of the regular season crown for the last five years.

In the preseason, Denver defeated Akron 1-0 and tied New Mexico 2-2. Along with the preseason No. 1 rank, Denver has the returning 2017 Summit League Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year.

Andre Shinyashiki, a senior forward from Brazil, scored a team-high nine goals last season, and he led the Summit League with five goals in conference play. He was also named to the First Team All-Summer League. The Summit League Defensive Player of the Year from Denver is senior Scott DeVoss, who was also named the First Team All-Summit League. DeVoss was part of a defense that allowed only 54 shots all of last season, with an average of 2.84 shots per game.

Shinyashiki scored a goal in the Pioneers’ 2-2 draw with New Mexico off a two-on-one with a teammate.

Omaha, who finished second in the preseason coaches’ poll, came away from its Canada tour with three shutouts. It finished its Canada play with a 3-1 victory over Vaughan SC.

The Mavericks are bringing two preseason Summit League players to watch: junior defender Seth Rinderknecht and sophomore midfielder/forward Stevie Siy.

Rinderknecht has been on the First Team All-Summit League twice, and he earned three assists last season. Siy also had three assists last year and led all freshman on the team in minutes played.

Western Illinois finished its preseason with a 2-1 victory over DePaul, who defeated Eastern 2-1 Tuesday, and with two draws with the University of Illinois Chicago and Quincy. Western was ranked third in the preseason poll just ahead of Eastern, and only one Leatherneck was mentioned as a player to watch. 

Senior forward/midfielder Drew Whalen will lead the Leathernecks this season offensively; last season he was third in the Summit League with eight goals and was named to the First Team All-Summit League.

Oral Roberts, the only team to finish the preseason undefeated, was predicted to finish fifth in the poll. Junior forward Junior Chavez and sophomore forward Dante Brigida were the Summit League’s players to watch for Oral Roberts. Chavez had two goals and an assist last year, and Brigida had eight points and two game-winning goals.

Fort Wayne was predicted to finish last this season, and it won its first preseason match 4-2 over Indiana Tech. Its other preseason match was cancelled.

Fort Wayne’s two Summit League players to watch are senior midfielders Zach Tom and Romain Lopez. Tom earned five points on five assists last season, and Lopez earned eight points on four goals.

Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]