Men’s soccer opens conference play with tie

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The Daily Eastern News

Dillan Schorfheide | The Daily Eastern News Shady Omar attempts a headed shot off a throw in in Eastern’s 3-2 win against Belmont Sept. 24 at Lakeside Field.

Blake Faith, Men's Soccer Reporter

Despite playing two players down, the men’s soccer team opened conference play with a 0-0 two-overtime tie to its Summit League conference foe Denver to end its rivalry week.

In the first half, the Panthers recorded two shots. Denver recorded five shots in the half with three of those being saved by redshirt junior goalkeeper Jonathan Burke.

In the 40th minute, freshman Delphy Sabu received the first red card of the year for the Panthers, and the Panthers were down to 10 men on the soccer field to begin the second half.

In the second half, the Panthers got their last shot of the game in the 57th minute from redshirt freshman Munir Sherali. Denver took 12 shots in the second half, but Eastern’s defense kept its composure.

Burke recorded four saves in the second half with two of those saves coming in the 80th and 81st minute of the game. In the 87th minute, the Panthers lost another player for the match when junior Davi Girardi received a red card.

The Panthers, despite being two players down, were able to hold on and shutout the Denver offense. Burke finished the game with eight saves.

With the result, the Panthers have gone back-to-back years recording a two-overtime tie against Denver in Summit League play. In 2018, the Panthers did it against a Denver team, who had the NCAA’s leading goal-scorer in Andre Shinyashiki.

With the saves from Saturday, Burke currently sits at third on the Summit League saves list with 35. Also with the shutout, Burke’s and the Panthers’ goal against average dropped to 1.5 on the season.

Heading into the season, the Panthers were predicted by the Summit League to finish sixth in the league.

The Panthers are 3-4-1 on the season and after the conference opener are currently in second place behind Oral Roberts. The men’s soccer team will face Oral Roberts Saturday at Lakeside Field.

Denver was predicted to be the Summit League Champions in 2019 and finish first. Currently the Pioneers are 1-5-2 and are third in the conference standings.

With rivalry week resulting in a win against Belmont in a come-from-behind-overtime victory, and a double-overtime tie against Denver, the Panthers aim to carry that momentum into this week’s two home games.

Last year against IUPUI the Panthers recorded a double overtime 0-0 tie.

The Panthers shot 14 times with four of those shots on goal. IUPUI only shot the ball four times with two of those shots on goal.

The men’s soccer team will host IUPUI Tuesday. The game is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Lakeside Field.

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