Valparaiso to visit Panthers Wednesday


Karina Delgado

Eastern redhsirt-freshman Cameron Behm fights for a ball with a Western Illinois defender on Oct. 6 at Lakeside Field. The men’s soccer team is 3-6-3 this season, they play Valparaiso Wednesday at Lakeside Field.

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

The men’s soccer team is riding momentum from its win Saturday into its next match against Valparaiso Wednesday.

Christian Sosnowski scored halfway through the second overtime against Western Illinois Saturday to give Eastern three conference points (on top of the one Eastern already had) and confidence going forward.

Eastern currently sits in second place in Summit League standings, behind Denver, and the Panthers will get a short break from conference play with its match Wednesday against a confusing Valparaiso team.

It is hard to evaluate Valparaiso accurately because the Crusaders have had some mixed results against both good and bad teams.

Currently 2-7-2, Valparaiso has shown some fight against tougher opponents that Eastern has faced or will face this season.

On Sept. 3 against Wisconsin, who is ranked 42nd in the nation and is the reigning Big Ten champion, Valparaiso only lost by a single goal and got eight shots off during the University of Wisconsin Tournament.

Eastern also faced Wisconsin, although it was in the Panthers’ first exhibition match before the start of the season.

But the Panthers gave up two goals, again it was an exhibition match, but did have one more shot on goal than Valparaiso (2-1).

Aside from the Wisconsin match, Valparaiso has played Western Illinois and Milwaukee to close finishes.

Against Milwaukee, who is a tough team at 6-4-2 and played Eastern to a 1-1 tie last year, Valparaiso won 1-0 at Milwaukee’s field.

Then against the Leathernecks, the Crusaders tied them 0-0.

After playing good matches against those tough opponents, Valparaiso then lost 4-1 to Oral Roberts, who is a good team, but with these mixed results, scouting Valparaiso is tough to pinpoint what they will do Wednesday.

Looking at the numbers, Eastern and Valparaiso both have advantages over each other in different categories.

Eastern has the slight edge over Valparaiso in goals scored per game, .67 to .64, but Valparaiso averages six more shots per game (14.5 to Eastern’s 8.4).

Valparaiso also has more shots on goal this season than Eastern, 44-36.

On the defensive side of things, Eastern is giving up 1.17 goals per game, lower than the 1.36 average Valparaiso is giving up to opponents this season.

On top of that, Eastern goalkeeper Jonathan Burke has a lower goals against average (1.09) than Valparaiso goalkeeper who has played the most (1.28).

Eastern hosts Valparaiso at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Lakeside Field in what is Eastern’s second-last nonconference match of the season.

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