Men’s soccer plays to scoreless draw with No. 4 Denver

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

Jonathan Burke had been in the position to try and stop a penalty kick to keep Eastern in a soccer match.

In the season opener, which ended in a 2-0 victory for Eastern over Cincinnati, Burke, en route to a clean sheet, dove to his left and stopped Ryan Melink’s penalty kick in the 58th minute. 

But Saturday on his team’s home field, with 21 minutes left in the first half, he looked the Division I leading scorer for men’s soccer in the face. Burke had a chance to stop a penalty kick from the captain of the No. 4 team in the nation, the same team who has won at least a share of the last five regular season Summit League crowns.

Andre Shinyashiki, who has been a prolific scorer this year, even more so than last year when he was the 2017 Summit League Offensive Player of the Year, hit his penalty kick to his left. 

And Burke stopped it.

“I was just planning to do my job, what (head coach Kiki Lara) said- be aware, be ready for those moments,” Burke, who grabbed his third clean sheet of the season Saturday, said. “We watched film on him, so that’s how we scouted the PK, and kind of just off the judgment call really. But more than that just my feeling.” 

Eastern’s defense kicked the rebound away from its box and out of bounds as Burke, his teammates and the crowd yelled their loudest and hyped the Panthers (2-5-3) for the rest of the game to a 0-0 draw with Denver (8-0-2).

Burke’s penalty kick save, though it was early in the match, was the tipping point for Shinyashiki, who was frustrated by Eastern the whole game. 

“Particularly it was our main goal because he has scored 19 goals in nine games, and we knew that, just to give him like two or three yards he would have a chance to score a goal,” defender Edgar Mesa said. 

Eastern had better chances to score than Denver, getting the same number of total shots (8), but five of them on goal.

David Camacho Jr., who has been a defender for the season thus far, played forward and had three shots on goal. Midfielder Cole Harkrader added on shot on goal, and he had another shot with 24 minutes left in the second half that was just too high and nipped the top of the crossbar.

Even with the five shots on goal, Lara said he wants more chances to score from his team.

Mesa, Burke and Lara all said the draw and the way Eastern played will help the team going forward.

“(Denver) is ranked fourth in the nation, so now we are hyped up because we know that we can beat a (ranked fourth) team,” Mesa said.

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