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 hopes to continue pressure in second half against Western Illinois

The Panthers hope to breakthrough Western Illinois’ stout defense on Saturday at John MacKenzie Alumni Field. (Luther Yoder)

The Panthers will face the Western Illinois Leathernecks on Saturday at 1 p.m. at John MacKenzie Alumni Field in Macomb, Ill.

Eastern comes into this game sitting at 1-2-2 having tied their last game 1-1. The Leathernecks are 0-5-1 having lost their last game 0-1.

Western Illinois has given up more than one goal only once through six games. They have also not scored a goal this season.

“We want to score more than one goal and we want to keep them where they have been in terms of their scoring, I know they’re struggling to score goals,” Head Coach Josh Oakley said. “It doesn’t mean that since a team is struggling to score goals that they’re not going to create chances because they definitely have done that.”

Western Illinois has taken 44 total shots through six games this season while Eastern has taken 42 through five games. Out of those 44 only 11 of them were on goal, giving them a shots on goal percentage of 25. Eastern has 20 shots on goal in one less game, and their shots on goal percentage is 47.6.

This will be the 62nd meeting between these two teams with Eastern leading the series at 35-19-7. The last time the Panthers beat the Leathernecks in Macomb was in 2006.

“Western’s got a really tough place to play,” Oakley said. “In my opinion it’s one of the toughest places to play in college soccer. It’s a big field, it’s wide, it’s usually very windy there. It’s definitely an environment that is not kind to visiting teams.”

Western Illinois’ field is 80 yards wide and 120 yards long, which is the maximum length and width that is allowed by the NCAA.

In the past three games Eastern has started three different goalkeepers, all three of which are juniors: Whelan Joseph against Wright State university, Chad Smith against Bellarmine University, and Kyce Toutanji against IUPUI.

When asked if they have found who they want to stay Oakley said “We’ve said it since day one, we’ve recruited some really good goalkeepers in here. Three of them are brand new and then we returned Chad from last year. It is not determined. The goalkeeping battle is one that’s heating up every single day. Like you said we’ve played three now and all three of them bring something special. Really happy with them and no decisions no [have been] made yet.”

Oakley also said that the team needs to improve on being aggressive even when they are up.

“We need to be a little more panic-less and complete a pass and move around and move the ball and get the ball into the opponents half for long spells when we’re winning games,” Oakley said.

Eastern has scored first in three games this season. In two of those games, Wright State and IUPUI, they went on to tie 1-1. Against IUPUI Eastern had nine shots compared to IUPUI’s zero in the first half, but only one compared to IUPUI’s 11 in the first half. Against Wright State, the same thing happened. Eastern took seven shots compared to Wright State’s five in the first half, then took two compared to Wright State’s 11 in the second half.

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

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

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