Men’s soccer team falls in tournament semifinals

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Men’s soccer team falls in tournament semifinals

Luke Kurili tries to protect the ball from a Northern Illinois defender during Eastern’s 2-0 loss on Sept. 21 at Lakeside Field.

Luke Kurili tries to protect the ball from a Northern Illinois defender during Eastern’s 2-0 loss on Sept. 21 at Lakeside Field.

Bryan Bund

Luke Kurili tries to protect the ball from a Northern Illinois defender during Eastern’s 2-0 loss on Sept. 21 at Lakeside Field.

Bryan Bund

Bryan Bund

Luke Kurili tries to protect the ball from a Northern Illinois defender during Eastern’s 2-0 loss on Sept. 21 at Lakeside Field.

Oscar Rzodkiewicz, Men's Soccer Reporter

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Eastern men’s soccer ends the season unceremoniously after losing 1-0 to Denver in the Summit League Championship semifinals.

An early first half goal from Denver senior Andre Shinyashiki gave the Pioneers the lead, which they never surrendered. 

Shinyashiki received a pass just outside the box and deked out Eastern sophomore goalkeeper Jonathan Burke in the 12th minute to secure the lead.

The goal is just one of 28 on the season for Shinyashiki, an all-time season record for Denver and the top mark in the entire nation.

Earlier this week, Shinyashiki was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week, days after recording his fifth hat trick of the year.

For Eastern, the defense mostly replicated its performance against Denver in late September, a match that finished in a 0-0 draw, as the Pioneers scored on their only shot on goal despite having 12 total shots for the game.

Last time out against Denver, Burke had one save on just one shot on goal, but the sophomore could not replicate that success, msking zero saves in the contest.

In the opposite net, sophomore Will Palmquist denied Eastern’s only shot on goal by senior Kris Luke in the 12th minute of the contest.

Palmquist was named Summit League Goalkeeper of the Year prior to his fourth shutout on the season.

Palmquist now leads the Summit League with a .818 save percentage and a 0.65 goals-against average, while Burke ranks fourth in both categories with a .742 save clip and a 1.20 GAA.

Eastern’s four total shots came from Luke, senior Toby Andrews, junior Cole Harkrader, and freshman Nate Francke.

The Pioneer defense was able to manage Eastern with senior Summit League Defensive Player of the Year Scott DeVoss headlining the back four.

For followers of Eastern soccer, the match may have felt like déjà vu, as the Panthers were eliminated from the Summit League tournament last season by the same 1-0 mark against Denver as well.

Eastern finishes the season at 3-11-4 overall and 1-2-2 in conference.

The Panthers’ season ending will not result in much turnover personnel-wise, as the roster includes just three seniors expected to graduate.

On the other side of the conference tournament bracket, Omaha defeated Fort Wayne 1-0 after a 69th minute goal by senior Noor Hamadi.

The Mavericks take on Denver this Saturday at 3 p.m. to decide the Summit League champion.

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