Men’s soccer starts the Josh Oakley era


Ashanti Thomas | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern midfielder Alejandro Lurbe runs by an opponent in a match against Purdue Fort Wayne on Sept. 3 at Lakeside Field. Eastern lost the match 1-0.

Kate Stevens, Assistant Sports Editor

The EIU men’s soccer team has begun its season with their new coach Josh Oakley. They are currently 0-1-1 after playing Green Bay and Xavier.  

The Summit League preseason poll has the Panthers taking 7th place after their 2-12-1 (2-4) record last season. The preseason poll also selected two players, midfielders Chad Hamler and Julian Smith as players to watch this year.  

The Panthers have scored two goals against their opponents so far. The goals were accredited to defender Delphy Sabu and forward Sam Eccles. Goalkeeper Chad Smith has recorded 10 saves and has a .769 goal saving percentage. 

EIU has four more games to play before they begin the Summit League play. They will play at IUPUI, Purdue Fort Wayne, Dayton, and Houston Baptist.  

The Summit League announced in May that Lindenwood and Southern Indiana would be joining the Summit League for men’s soccer this year.  

After two games, the Summit League is led by Denver. Denver was slated to take the first-place spot in the conference this season after a 11-2-2 (4-1-1) record last year. So far, they have defeated Gonzaga and Grand Canyon and are set to play at Maryland on Sept. 2. Last year, Denver made it to the Summit League tournament and then made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament where they lost to Clemson.  

Both Eastern and Omaha are the only Summit League teams to hire a new coach in the offseason. The Omaha Mavericks are now led by Donovan Dowling.  

EIU will begin Summit League play on Sept. 24 at St. Thomas. The Panthers will play Southern Indiana for their home opener on Oct. 1.