Men’s soccer team ready for home match against rival Belmont

Blake Faith, Men's Soccer Reporter

File Photo | The Daily Eastern News
Toby Andrews attempts a pass as an opposing attacker jumps to try and block it. Eastern tied 1-1 in this home contest against Evansville in August 2018 at Lakeside Field.

The men’s soccer team, in the past two years, formed a rivalry with Belmont.

The Panthers’ goal for this weekend is the same as their goal for the entire season and that is to win every home game of the season, including a home match against Belmont Tuesday.

In the last two years, Belmont and Eastern games have promised adversity and a high level of competition.

In 2017, the Panthers lost 2-1 in overtime at Lakeside Field. The Panthers had to play two men down when their former goalkeeper Mike Novotny, and defender Erik Isaksson, were ejected due to receiving red cards.

In 2018, the Panthers also played a man down when Shady Omar received a red card in the eighth minute of the first half. Despite playing a man down and playing on the road the Panthers were able to fight and lose a close match with a score of 3-2.

“Its rivalry week for us Belmont and Denver. It’s going to be a fun week for us playing some good teams,” goalkeeper Jonathan Burke said. “ I feel that Belmont is a good game to get us ready for Denver because its going to be a hard-fought battle.”

The men’s soccer team is coming off a week without a match. Prior to the break Eastern recorded one win and one loss.

The Panthers defeated Bradley for the first time since 2009 with a score of 1-0. Redshirt freshman Munir Sherali provided the goal for the Panthers in the 67th minute en route to a Panther shutout on the road.

Against Northwestern the Panthers competed hard but fell 1-0 on the road. The Panthers’ defense only gave up seven shots to Northwestern.

The defense consists of Burke, senior Edger Mesa and freshmen Delphy Sabu and Quinn Rechner. The same defense is the reason the Panthers’ and Burke’s goal against average for the season has dropped down to 1.67.

“Defense is definitely clicking and playing very well together,” Burke said. “The more games we play I feel the closer we get and in the end the better we perform.”

The Panthers have also been able to have a different player score a goal on different nights. The Panthers have six different goal scorers alone in 2019: Christian Sosnowski, Shady Omar, Sherali, Cameron Behm, Alex Castaneda and Nate Francke.

Belmont is 1-5-1 this season, with its one tie coming against Bradley. Belmont also scored five goals on the season.

The Panthers are 2-4 including the win against Bradley. The Panthers scored six goals in 2019.

The men’s soccer team will play Belmont Tuesday at 3 p.m. on Lakeside Field.

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