Men’s soccer looks to build momentum with weekend matches



Karina Delgado | The Daily Eastern News Christian Sosnowski runs to gain possession of the ball as a defender starts to guard him. Eastern defeated St. Xavier Tuesday in its home opener 2-0 at Lakeside Field.

Blake Faith, Men's Soccer Reporter

The men’s soccer team won its first game of the season (also its home opener) against Saint Xavier Tuesday, and its goal is to take that result and improve on it against Bradley and Northwestern this weekend.

Before the first home game Eastern went up against Ohio State and Xavier.

Xavier defeated Akron in its first game, and Xavier is currently ranked 11th in the nation. Against Xavier the Panthers held them to only one goal in the first half and lost 3-0.

Against Ohio State the Panthers were down 2-0 early in the second half but struck back. Late in the second half, the Panthers tied the game in the 83rd minute Shady Omar tied the game with a penalty kick. In the last minute, Ohio State scored the game-winner to take a 3-2 victory.

“We are ready to compete with these two games coming up,” said goalkeeper Jonathan Burke. “Bradley we have shown for years we can stick with and beat but haven’t been able to pull out that victory result. We believe this year is the year we get the win against a good Bradley side.”

Burke continued: “Northwestern we know is a good team with good players. We are going to have to play similar to our second half vs Ohio State for the full 90 minutes and be ready if there is overtime.”

In the game against Saint Xavier the Panthers pounced on the offensive side of the field.

The Panthers shot the ball 15 times and 9 of those were on goal. The Panthers also controlled the time of possession against Saint Xavier.

“We were getting better with some of the possession habits that have made us who we are in the past,” said head coach Kiki Lara. “We need to make sure that the lessons we have learned from Evansville, Xavier and Ohio State that the details and possession are critical. We need to make sure that we trust those and execute those at a very fast pace.”

Redshirt senior Christian Sosnowski also had something to say about Eastern’s the time of possession and offense against Saint Xavier.

“The biggest factor in keeping possession against Saint Xavier was rotation,” Sosnowski said. “We stayed calm on the ball and we did a great job of staying patient and waiting for the right moment to start our attack. We were also more composed in the final third and didn’t rush the final ball as much as we did in previous games.”

Sosnowski’s individual goals for the game is to lead the team in the attacking side of the field and create chances by scoring goals or getting an assist in both games. Sosnowksi currently has one goal this season for the Panthers.

“Our mindset for this weekend is to win and keep our winning streak going,” Sosnowski said. “We have shown over the last two games that we can come back and play toe-to-toe with anybody in the country as we did against Ohio State and also we can control the game as we did in Xavier.”

For the defense, freshmen Delphy Sabu and Quinn Rechner have started to click alongside Edger Mesa and Burke. They have both started in the last three games and have been described by Lara as fast learners and players that have huge potential.

“Quinn and Delph are growing each day and our whole backline including myself is getting closer each day on the field,” Burke said. “I feel we have a good communication and are open to feedback. Especially Quinn and Delph. Being the new guys, they are always looking to learn how they can improve their game.”

The team has been holding itself accountable for what they are doing this year on the field. By doing so, the team feels that it can accomplish its goals.

“You expect your teammate to make that big time play, but also you need to make that big time play for your teammate,” said redshirt sophomore Cameron Behm.

The men’s soccer team will travel to Peoria to play Bradley at 7 p.m. Friday. The team will then travel to Evansville, Illinois to play Northwestern Sunday at 3 p.m.

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