Sosnowski embraces leading role for men’s soccer team

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Sosnowski embraces leading role for men’s soccer team

Christian Sosnowski settles the ball during Eastern’s 1-1 tie with Evansville at Lakeside Field on Aug. 31. Sosnowski leads Eastern with three goals this season.

Christian Sosnowski settles the ball during Eastern’s 1-1 tie with Evansville at Lakeside Field on Aug. 31. Sosnowski leads Eastern with three goals this season.

Dillan Schorfheide

Christian Sosnowski settles the ball during Eastern’s 1-1 tie with Evansville at Lakeside Field on Aug. 31. Sosnowski leads Eastern with three goals this season.

Dillan Schorfheide

Dillan Schorfheide

Christian Sosnowski settles the ball during Eastern’s 1-1 tie with Evansville at Lakeside Field on Aug. 31. Sosnowski leads Eastern with three goals this season.

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

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Perhaps the biggest headline this season for the men’s soccer team is the Panthers’ ability to score.

In 19 matches last year, Eastern scored only 10 goals, which was something that left the team wanting more this year—that is, more scoring.

“Last year we were very defensive-minded, this year we kind of are too, but we’ve really progressed since last year, offensively,” Christian Sosnowski said.

Sosnowski may very well be the main reason Eastern’s offense has seen the improvement in scoring that it has, as he leads the team with three goals.

“We added some guys that have really helped us to create pressure, that definitely is huge, and we’ve been taking more shots and scoring more goals,” Sosnowski said.

Eastern eclipsed last season’s total in three fewer matches, with goals from Kris Luke and Alex Castaneda against Milwaukee and Fort Wayne, respectively, getting the Panthers over last year’s residual hump.

Sosnowski has stepped into a leading role for Eastern’s offense this year, and he was pegged as a key player by head coach Kiki Lara during the preseason.

“Last year I only scored one goal, and I definitely knew I had to work on my shooting and scoring, so this whole summer I just practiced my shooting and scoring,” Sosnowski said.

Stepping into the leading role as a scorer was something Eastern needed this year, especially since last year’s leading scorer, Zach Medawattage, graduated.

And Sosnowski has been that leader offensively.

All three of his goals have been clutch goals or important goals in one facet or another.

He scored in the very first match of the season, a 2-0 win over Cincinnati on Aug. 27, in the 41st minute. While his goal was the second one scored, it provided an insurance policy for Eastern if needed.

His second goal of the season came shortly after the Cincinnati shut out, in a 1-1 tie with Evansville on Aug. 31.

Sosnowski scored in the 43rd minute on a free kick to break the 0-0 draw that sat around the field until that point.

His goal was important in that match because it assured Eastern at least had a tie, which was the outcome when Evansville tied the match 31 minutes later.

But his most important goal came on Oct. 6 in a home match against Western Illinois.

With five minutes left in the second overtime and a tie staring both teams in the face, he got a deflection off a throw in and hit the back of the net to give Eastern its only conference win so far this season.

If Eastern had tied that match, it would only have three conference points and the possibility of still being eliminated from a postseason spot. But Eastern has at least secured a fourth-place spot in the postseason as of right now.

Sosnowski’s three goals are probably the minimum for what he could have achieved this season, but a recent groin injury over the last month has kept him from playing as much.

He sat out a couple games, and he had to come off the bench later in matches after those first few games, which is what he did before scoring his game-winner against Western.

Sosnowski said he is not 100 percent just yet, but his mind is always on scoring. He knows that he needs to step up and lead the team as a captain going forward.

To find success in the season’s closing, he believes the team needs to do what it did well at the beginning of the year.

“Our first game of the regular season (against Cincinnati), we had a lot of good chances and shots, and we just have to keep creating,” he said.

Sosnowski has had a good supporting cast for goal scoring this season, as eight different Panthers have scored, including Shady Omar and Luke, who have two goals each.

Sosnowski and the Panthers will need scoring to finish out its season.

Eastern closes out the regular season against Omaha, who is second in the Summit League, and if Eastern finishes in fourth, it will face Denver in the first round of the postseason tournament.

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