Column: Men’s soccer team returning top players

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

A berth in the Summit League Tournament was not in the cards for the Eastern men’s soccer team last season. The Panthers finished fifth in the conference, missing the postseason by one spot.

Eastern went 5-9-2 overall with a conference record of 1-2-2. Head coach Kiki Lara left the program after five season at the helm to take over at Incarnate Word, and Ronnie Bouemboue was brought in as the new head coach.

The team returned to the practice field last week after the postponement of the 2020 season.

When they do begin the season, the Panthers will be returning several of their top performers from 2019 as they look to get back into the Summit League tournament, including their top-three point scorers and starting goalkeeper.

Of the 10 Panthers that scored a goal last season, six will be returning.

 

Shady Omar

Eastern had two players who scored multiple goals last season, one of which was forward Shady Omar.

In his junior season, Omar led the Panthers with 3 goals. That ranked him ninth in the Summit League. He also led the team with 13 shots on goal, which ranked seventh in the conference, and 7 points, which ranked 10th.

He led the team in these statistical categories despite missing two games during the season. Omar also attempted and made the Panthers’ only penalty shot of the season.

 

Davi Girardi

In his first season at Eastern, transfer Davi Girardi finished second on the team with two goals, joining Omar as the only Panthers with multiple goals last season.

Girardi also led the team with 20 shots and finished third on the team with five points on the season. One of his two goals was a game winner in the 94th minute against Belmont on Sept. 24.

This season will be Girardi’s senior campaign.

 

Cameron Behm

No one participated in more goals last season than midfielder Cameron Behm. Of the Panthers’ 13 goals, Behm scored one and assisted on four, leading the team in the latter category. His goal was the first of his career.

Behm’s four assists also ranked him third in the Summit League, the highest ranking last season for an Eastern offensive player.

Behm will be a resdhirt-junior this season.

 

Jonathan Burke

On the defensive end, goalkeeper Jonathan Burke stood out as the Panthers’ most productive player in 2019.

Burke ranked first in the Summit League with a save percentage of .737. He also tied for first place in the conference with six shutouts on the season.

Additionally, he ranked third in the Summit League with 4.38 saves per game and was named to the all-conference second team for his efforts. Burke also made an appearance on Sportscenter’s Top 10 plays after making a diving stop against Evansville on Aug. 30.

 

Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]