Panthers to face Denver in conference opener


Dillan Schorfheide | The Daily Eastern News

Cameron Behm kicks his leg out to block the opponent’s pass attempt near the sideline. Eastern defeated Belmont 3-2 in overtime Tuesday at Lakeside Field.

Blake Faith, Men's Soccer Reporter

The men’s soccer team hopes to ride the momentum of its come-from-behind win against rival Belmont to its conference opener against conference rival Denver Saturday.

The Panthers clawed their way back from being down 2-1 early in the second half against Belmont Tuesday. 

In the 64th minute, the Panther offense started the comeback when junior Shady Omar shot from the top of the goal box and the ball sailed into the net to tie the game at 2-2. That goal was Omar’s second of the season, and he currently leads the team in goals scored.

The Panthers won in overtime when senior Cole Harkrader delivered the ball to redshirt senior Christian Sosnowski, and Sosnowski then delivered a cross to junior Davi Girardi for a one-touch goal to give the Panthers the win.

Including Tuesday, the Panthers have eight players who scored a goal this season: Girardi, Omar, Sosnowski, senior Alex Castaneda, redshirt freshman Munir Sherali, senior Edgar Mesa, redshirt sophomore Cameron Behm and sophomore Nate Francke.

“It speaks to the culture of the team,” head coach Kiki Lara said on the different player contributions. “Guys being ready and prepared to play in the game whether it’s 90 minutes, 20 minutes, or zero. For a guy like Munir who wasn’t traveling and playing a big role in a game like today. These guys know that they mean a lot to the program and are ready to step in.”

In 2018, the Panthers tied Denver 0-0 in a double overtime match in conference play and lost in the Summit League tournament to Denver 1-0.

In 2018, Denver’s offense ran through Andre Shinyashiki, who led the NCAA in scoring with 28 goals but since graduated and plays for the Colorado Rapids in the MLS.

Denver went on to win the 2018 Summit League championship.
Before the season, Lara said that he thought the Summit League has become more up-for-grabs every year, because other programs have evened the playing field.

So far in 2019, Denver’s record is 1-5-1. In those games, the Pioneers have only scored four goals, and their leading scorer, Josh Drack, has two of those goals.

The Panthers are 3-4 on the season with a team combination of nine goals so far.

Eastern will play on the road against Denver at 2 p.m. Saturday.


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