‘Necks able to pull even, but still lose

Ed Cabello

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‘Necks midfielder Matt Hawkins dribbles the ball past a defender in thier 2-1 doublr overtime loss.-Marta Ciszewski/Asst. Photo EditorThe Leathernecks soccer team wanted to come out with a big victory for their fans Sunday. With a horrendous 3-1 loss Thursday to Drake University at John MacKenzie Alumni Field, they were left sick and determined to win.

Drake outran WIU behind the smart playing and quick feet of Bulldog midfielder Dusty Grau, who had goals on two of his three tries

The ‘Necks lost a heartbreaking 2-1 game in double overtime against the Panthers of Eastern Illinois University and left questions unanswered for themselves and coach Eric Johnson.

‘Neck junior goalie Jordan Martone managed to save seven shots, while allowing three goals, but did not play like the Martone fans know.

“I had an off day. I thought we came out of the locker room with a whole different outlook of how we would play,” Martone said.

The ‘Necks were unable to complete the rush. The usual starters played their respectable minutes, but Johnson wanted to take a different angle and try a new game plan by giving some of the bench playing time.

After 50 minutes of play, Panther defender Kyle Mittendorf bruised ‘Neck senior midfielder Eliu Hernandez while trying to score, earning a yellow card and setting up a penalty kick.

Hernandez capitalized on the kick, ricocheting the ball to the left side of the goal and leaving EIU’s goalie Ryan Waguespack desperately trying to block the goal.

Mittendorf made up for his dirty play 20 minutes later with a laser off his cranium past Martone, tying the score at 1-1.

Up to that point, Martone had some showstopping saves that rendered the Panther offense helpless.

“I just wanted to bounce back from the game I put up on Thursday,” Martone said of his stellar eight-save performance.

However, EIU’s Jeff Nix answered the call and hit a shot past Martone giving the Panthers the win.

The non-conference loss doesn’t affect the ‘Necks’ 1-0 conference lead, but leaves them at a dismal 2-9 overall.

The ‘Necks are hoping for a change of pace when they take on the Bisons of Howard University in Washington, D.C., Wednesday.

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