Eastern halts Denver’s roll, Western struggles


Bryan Bund

Eastern redshirt-junior Zabdiel Justiniano kicks a ball in the Panthers 2-0 loss to Northern Illinois at Lakeside Field on Sept. 21. Eastern is 2-6-3 this season.

Oscar Rzodkiewicz , Men's Soccer Reporter

As the first slate of conference matchups continue in the Summit League, Omaha and Denver lead the way but not without some surprise outings against intraconference opponents.

Denver (9-0-2, 1-0-1 SL) kicked off Summit League play over a week ago with a tight 4-3 win over Omaha, but the Pioneers failed to down Eastern (2-6-3, 0-0-1 SL) in a 0-0 draw Saturday.

Despite facing one of the biggest playmakers in college soccer, Denver’s senior Andre Shinyashiki, sophomore goalkeeper Jonathan Burke and the rest of the Panthers’ defense managed a scoreless match.

Burke received his second Summit League Defensive Player of the Week honor this season for his performance.

Eastern needed a solid outcome badly after dropping three straight matches prior to playing Denver.

Despite the solid play, the Panthers lost against Northern Kentucky 0-3 on Tuesday after being outshot 17 to 8.

Both Denver and Eastern face more conference opponents this week, with the Pioneers taking on Fort Wayne tomorrow and the Panthers matching up against Western Illinois on Saturday.

Meanwhile, despite struggling to start the season in non-conference play, Omaha (2-5, 1-1 SL) bounced back from its loss to Denver with a big win against Fort Wayne by a tally of 4-1.

Omaha junior goalkeeper Ugo Tritz faced a heavy 10 shots on goal against Denver in the loss, but Tritz got a much stronger effort from his defense against the Mastodons, seeing just two shots on goal.

Omaha sophomore Diego Gutierrez dethroned Shinyashiki as Summit League Offensive Player of the Week after posting two goals and an assist against Fort Wayne.

Gutierrez is the first Maverick to receive the honor this season, and it is the first of his career.

Fort Wayne, although scoring the most goals out of any Summit League team, finds itself at the bottom of the conference standings due to the loss.

Not all is bad for Fort Wayne, though, as they picked up a 1-0 win against Green Bay early last week.

The Mastodons look to steal a match against Denver before facing Marshall in a non-conference matchup on Tuesday.

Oral Roberts (6-3-2, 0-0-1 SL) had varying levels of success this week, losing to Central Arkansas last Tuesday, forcing a draw against Western Illinois Saturday, and routing Valparaiso 4-1 on Monday.

The Golden Eagles have tread towards the top of the Summit League for most of the season behind the offensive firepower of sophomore Dante Brigida and junior Junior Chavez, who have combined for 11 goals and five assists.

Oral Roberts takes the week off and will not face its next opponent, Fort Wayne, until Oct. 13.

The worst week for a Summit League team must go to Western Illinois (2-6-3, 0-0-1 SL) which came up winless in three matches.

Western Illinois has scored the fewest goals, six, in the Summit League this season, while allowing the second-most with 17.

The Fighting Leathernecks hope to get back into the win column against Eastern on Saturday.

Oscar Rzodkiewicz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]