Eastern athletes to watch this fall season

Eastern+junior+forward+Nicoletta+Anuci+%28right%29+attempts+to+get+off+a+shot+against+Indiana+State+on+Aug.+19+at+Lakeside+Field.+Anuci+attempted+2+shots+and+recorded+an+assist+in+the+match%2C+which+Eastern+lost+3-1.+

Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern junior forward Nicoletta Anuci (right) attempts to get off a shot against Indiana State on Aug. 19 at Lakeside Field. Anuci attempted 2 shots and recorded an assist in the match, which Eastern lost 3-1.

Adam Tumino, Sports Editor

With the fall seasons beginning around campus, and the four team sports that are getting underway have several players to watch.

 

Football

There are standout players on both offense and defense for the Eastern football team heading into the season. 

Linebacker Jason Johnson emerged last season as one of the top tacklers in the FCS, leading the conference with 11 tackles per game and ranking ninth in the nation in that category. 

He was named First Team All-OVC as a result of his efforts. 

Returning this season for the Eastern offense is wide receiver Isaiah Hill, who was the Panthers’ best offensive player in 2019 before missing last season with injury. 

He had one of the most productive seasons in Eastern history in 2019 after transfering from South Dakota State. He averaged 7.5 receptions per game, which ranked sixth in school history. 

 

Men’s Soccer

The Summit League announced several players to watch earlier this week, and on that list was goalkeeper Jonathan Burke and forward Reed Axthelm.

Burke averaged 6.90 saves per game last season, by far the most in the conference, while posting a save percentage of .802.

Axthelm was tied for seventh in the conference with a team-high three goals. 

The Panthers are looking to bounce back from a last-place finish last season, and having Burke and Axthelm play like they did last season will help.

 

Women’s Soccer

Junior forward Nicoletta Anuci is already off to a hot start this season. She netted two goals against Illinois Springfield on Aug. 22 after recording an assist in the season opener against Indiana State Aug. 19. 

She has already tied her goal total from last season, when she was tied for the team lead. 

Defender Eva Munoz has also been active to start the season, leading the OVC in shots and shots on goal through two matches. 

 

Volleyball

One Eastern volleyball player was named an OVC Player of the Week last season, and it was libero Christina Martinez Munoz. She averaged 3.96 digs per set last season to lead the team. 

Senior outside hitter Danielle Allen is the top returning scorer for the Panthers after averaging 2.29 kills per set last season, and has improved each season so far at Eastern.  

 

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