Panthers face Oral Roberts in men’s soccer matchup

Eastern+forward+Cole+Stephens+challenges+a+Western+Illinois+defender+to+win+a+head+ball+during+Eastern%E2%80%99s+1-0+victory+at+Lakeside+Field+on+Oct.+6.

Karina Delgado

Eastern forward Cole Stephens challenges a Western Illinois defender to win a head ball during Eastern’s 1-0 victory at Lakeside Field on Oct. 6.

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern men’s soccer team has its first match Saturday after a week and a half of no competition.

The Panthers will travel to Oral Roberts Saturday to play in their third conference match of the season.

The last time Eastern saw some action on the soccer field was Oct. 10, when the Panthers hosted Valparaiso and ended up losing 2-1. 

Saturday’s match will mark the halfway point for both teams in the conference schedule, and although the Golden Eagles have a better overall record (6-4-2 compared to Eastern’s 3-7-3), Eastern has fared better in conference play.

The Panthers sit in third place in the conference, behind Omaha in second place and Denver in first. 

Eastern has four conference points thus far, thanks to a tie against Denver and a win over Western Illinois.

Oral Roberts has one conference point and is tied with Western in last place in the conference. Oral Roberts and Western got their points from each other with a 1-1 draw on Sept. 29.

But the Golden Eagles are not out of a shot at the postseason tournament, which only includes four of the six Summit League teams.

With three conference matches left in the season, both Eastern and Oral Roberts have the potential for a maximum of nine conference points left to gain.

If just two of the teams in front of Oral Roberts, Eastern and Fort Wayne for example, lose out or do not get enough points, Oral Roberts can take a playoff spot from them. 

For Eastern, it has a chance to get a higher position in conference standings with wins or ties against Oral Roberts and its future conference opponents, so this weekend will be important for both teams to get a boost for its conference standing.

Up to this point in the season, the Golden Eagles are ahead of Eastern in some offensive categories.

Oral Roberts averages 10.5 shots per game, while Eastern averages 8.6. The Golden Eagles have also scored 22 goals this season, considerably higher than Eastern’s nine. Oral Roberts also scores 1.83 goals per game, and Eastern averages .69 goals per game.

Defensively, Oral Roberts has given up 15 goals this season, and Eastern has given up 16 goals.

Aside from drawing with Western, Oral Roberts has fared well against another past Eastern opponent in Valparaiso. Where the Panthers lost 2-1 to Valparaiso, Oral Roberts defeated Valparaiso 4-1.

Saturday’s match between the Panthers and Golden Eagles is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

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