Western Courier

Men’s soccer drops home opener to Drake

Haley Richards, Courier Staff

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The Western Illinois University men’s soccer team took on Drake University for their home opener on Wednesday. The Leathernecks fell to the Bulldogs by a score of 2-1, leaving them with an updated record of 2-5-0 on the season.

A goal from senior forward Drew Whalen in the 61st minute put Western at an advantage early in the second half. The ball from freshman midfielder Mitchell Moynihan allowed Whalen the perfect opportunity in front of goal. This was Whalen’s fourth goal of the season, putting him at 8 points in total.

Just two minutes after Whalen’s goal, junior midfielder Nic Jaimes of Drake found the back of the net. Jaimes beat the keeper after a long ball was played over the top. Again, in the 77th minute we saw a goal from freshman forward Leroy Enzugusi which was almost a mirror image of the previous goal by his teammate Jaimes. Down at this point, the Leathernecks were in need of a spark.

Sophomore goalkeeper Tim Trilk came up big in the match with some outstanding saves throughout the 90 minutes of play. A diving save in the first half saved the Leathernecks from an early deficit in the match.

“We had two opportunities earlier to get a goal,” said Director of Soccer Eric Johnson. “Drew (Whalen) had one early as soon as he came in when he was moving to his left but their keeper was able to make a save back across his body. I think we started a little bit slow but we were able to come into the game.”  Like Johnson said, it was a slower paced game. Both teams were struggling to keep possession as there was not much movement off the ball. However, after the second goal from the Bulldogs, we saw a burst of energy for the Leathernecks. Shots in the final minutes of the game by senior forward Fernando Pacheco and freshman midfielder Luke Duball gave Western Illinois an opportunity to tie the game, but ultimately could not capitalize.

Whalen and Pacheco led teh game with three shots.  Freshman midfielder Paul Kirdorf ended the game with two back-to-back shots.

“We were good moving the ball left to right and getting (senior defender) Ben Fiddes, who was playing left back, involved. We’re still a maturing team with a lot of new faces, but all of these games are important for us to solve those problems before we get to the league, and now we are at that point. We made a couple of mistakes we can’t afford to make against league opponents, so hopefully we’ve wasted all of those and have a clean slate for The Summit League games coming up.”  Said Director of Soccer Eric Johnson.

Western will open up Summit League play Saturday. The Leathernecks will be taking on Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). The Mastodons are currently ranked fourth in the conference, holding a record of 2-4-3. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Men’s soccer drops home opener to Drake