Men’s soccer play first place Pioneers

Michael Harms , Courier Staff

The Western Illinois men’s soccer team takes on Denver University this Saturday. The men are struggling this year posting a record of 2-8-3 with a Summit League record of 0-2-1 while Denver is in a better position with a record of 10-2-2, with a Summit League record of 2-0-1.

This game is truly an uphill battle for the men’s team as they look to take down the Summit League leader this weekend away from home. To help with this Denver is coming off of a two-game losing streak to non-Summit League opponents.

With a loss at Virginia University and Maryland University in this two game stretch they didn’t score a single goal. They gave up four and Western must capitalize on their downhill slide late in the season. The backline will be led by senior back Jamison Kozar, who has led the team this entire year.

His powerful presence has been helpful in recording Western’s three shutout games and his senior presence is always a factor. With the help of goalkeeper Tim Trilk whose vocal leadership and constant movement they might have a shot to shutout an explosive Denver team.

Senior forward Andre Shinyashiki has other plans for Western’s backline. With over a 58 percent on goal shooting percentage he has put in 21 balls into the net this year. Twenty-one goals in one season is incredible. To do that already at this point in the season is almost unheard of. He leads the summit league by eleven total goals.

His talent is clearly unmatched at his position and he is a strong reason Denver is in the position they are. On the other hand, Western has not been able to find the net even as much as Shinyashiki. As a team Western has a total of seven goals this year and ranks last in the Summit League.

Very little offense for the Leathernecks has been the reason they cannot find the win column this year, and that must change. Freshman forward Xavier Brown has been an explosive presence for the Leathernecks, but has not been able to move to an explosive stat line.

With only a few games left in Summit League play the Leathernecks chances of making a post season appearance are next to zero. They are not in control of their own destiny and the odds are not in their favor. The disappointing season will be a sore mark on the resume of Director of Soccer, Eric Johnson.

The most winning coach in Summit League history cannot be happy with the teams performance and will look to bounce back with a few wins in the end of the season. With ten newcomers on the team this year the expectations were not high for the team and hopefully they will find better success next season.

The rest of the season they will close out playing Purdue Fort Wayne here in Macomb for senior night on Nov. 3.