The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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Eastern looks to improve on finishing in their next game against Bellarmine

Defender Lance Somerfield is one of the many freshmen that have an impact on this team. (File)

The Panthers will face the Bellarmine University Knights on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Lakeside Field.

The Panthers enter this game at 1-1-1 having tied the IUPUI Jaguars in their last game while the Knights are 0-1-3.

“They’re going to pose a different threat,” Head Coach Josh Oakley said. “They’re rigid. They’re pretty disciplined. Much different team I think than IUPUI and Bradley. Their strengths lie in a few different places. I think we have a good idea of what we’re going to get on the day.”

Throughout the start of the season Oakley has emphasized finishing and getting guys into the box as something he wants the team to get better at. They showed improvement against IUPUI where they had their season high in shots (ten) and shots on goal (six).

“We spent a lot of time [Thursday] in training covering where we think we’ll get the opportunities if we do our jobs, and we spent a lot of time finishing those opportunities and doing those,” Oakley said.

Eastern is coming off a tough tie against IUPUI where they led for 54 minutes until allowing a goal with around five minutes left in the game.

“We got a couple mottos, one of them is ‘not too high, not too low,’ and . . . if I had to guess and I’ve been doing this for a long time I think we’re in the exact right position with our minds right now,” Oakley said. “We’re not flying super high, but we are definitely not down below where we need to be, so I think the mindset, the attitude is right on.”

In Eastern’s last game they started four freshmen, which is the most this season; most notably freshman forward Kyle Ward, who had his first start of the season and played for all 90 minutes.

“A guy like Kyle Ward in the last game, he’s played a few minutes here and there, we know he’s a talent,” Oakley said. “We knew he was going to be a good player. We knew he was going to figure in. He got his moment, got his opportunity . . . and was great in the last game.”

Oakley says that this is going to be commonplace for this team. Freshmen like defender Lance Somerfield and midfielder Kyle Kimberling, who have had great starts, are an example of why that is true.

In the last game Oakley decided to start redshirt junior goalkeeper Kyce Toutanji instead of junior Chad Smith who he had started in the two previous games.

“When you talk about goalkeeping, we’ve got it, we’ve got it here . . . All of our goalkeepers are very good, very solid, they know they want to work to get better every day, they’re no different than anybody else on our team,” Oakley said.

Luther Yoder can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Luther Yoder, Assistant Sports Editor
Luther Yoder is a sophomore journalism major. This is his first year at The News.

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