Men’s soccer picks up 1st win of season

Blake Faith, Men's Soccer Reporter

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The Panthers ended its losing streak by defeating Saint Xavier 2-0 Tuesday afternoon at Lakeside Field in the home opener.

Coming into the first home game of the season, the men’s soccer team competed against Evansville, Xavier and Ohio State, but lost all three games.

 


Karina Delgado | The Daily Eastern News
Chrisitan Sosnowski dribbles the ball as a defender guards him. Eastern defeated St. Xavier 2-0 Tuesday at Lakeside Field in the team’s season opener.

 

Eastern’s offense attacked early in the first half by pushing numbers up and getting three shots in the first 20 minutes of the first half.

Then in the 25th minute, junior Shady Omar and redshirt sophomore Cameron Behm directed a cross pass to assist sophomore Nate Francke in scoring the first goal of the game for the Panthers.

For Francke it was his first goal of the 2019 season. For Omar it was the third goal in the last five scored for the Panthers that he assisted or scored on.

Head coach Kiki Lara discussed at the very beginning of the season how there are certain expectations for players to be catalyst, and Omar is stepping into that role early.

“Shady is a program player, and everything he’s doing offensively and defensively is because he’s earned it these last two years,” Lara said. “Shady being productive for us is very important to our team in this game and moving forward.”

In the first half, the Panthers shot three times on goal and added another shot. Saint Xavier only recorded one shot for the entire game.

Going into the second half Lara told his players to win the first 15 minutes.

In the 58th minute Behm added to his assist on the night when he netted a goal right past Saint Xavier’s goalkeeper to make the score 2-0.

For the Panthers, Behm is now one of five players who scored a goal this season.

“That’s been a process, when we scored against Ohio State or Saint (Xavier), they are both good programs,” Lara said, talking about the variety of Eastern players to score. “We need to be able to attack in different ways, utilize different players, and different players stepping up is important to us offensively.”

Toward the end of the game, Lara stressed to his players one word: shutout. The program has been known for its defensive culture, and when the final whistle blew, the Panthers completed the shutout against Saint Xavier.

“It’s (the shutout) more like us, we are known for being a tough defensive team, and everyone is committed to that process,” Lara said. “We have some young guys and coaches who have made some mistakes in the past. We all have to look ourselves in the mirror and make sure we pay attention to detail and get back to our roots and be a good defensive team.”

Redshirt junior goalkeeper Jonathan Burke recorded his first shutout of the season and lowered his goals against average to 2.25.

The men’s soccer team will play Friday on the road against Bradley, with the start time set for 7 p.m.

 

Blake Faith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]