Eastern Illinois (0-2-1) at Purdue Fort Wayne (1-1-1)
Sept. 4 at 2 PM
Fort Wayne, Ind. (Hefner Soccer Complex)
Panthers Head To Fort Wayne
Eastern Illinois men’s soccer looks to get back on track as they play their second straight road game in the Hoosier state. The Panthers take on the Mastodons of Purdue Fort Wayne on Sunday, September 4. The Panthers hold an overall record of 0-2-1 following Friday night’s 5-1 loss at IUPUI, while the Mastodons come into Sunday’s match with a record of 1 -1-1 following their 2-1 home win over Western Illinois on Friday evening. Kickoff is set for 2 PM CT.
Eccles, Sabu Find The Back Of The Net
Sam Eccles has been the Panthers’ offensive leader for the early part of the season. The Hofstra transfer leads the team with five shots, three shots on goal, and has scored two goals in the first three games of the season. He scored a goal off a penalty kick in the 82nd minute of EIU’s opener at Green Bay for the Panthers’ first goal of the regular season, and netted his second goal in the 8th minute against IUPUI. Delphi Sabu found the back of the net in the 72nd minute to ultimately secure a tie against Xavier.
Smith Anchors The Goal
Chad Smith has played a team-high 265 minutes at goalkeeper this season for EIU. His four first half saves against Xavier single-handedly kept the Panthers in the game and his save in the second half preserved the eventual tie. Smith’s 4.67 saves per game rank third in the Summit League and his 14 saves rank second in the conference.
Spallinger, Okonny Make Early Impact
Freshman Forward Jude Spallinger scored a goal in EIU’s home exhibition win over Parkland CC. Okonny made the assist on the goal and also scored a goal of his own in the win.
Smith, Hamler Named Players To Watch
Chad Hamler and Julian Smith have been named Summit League Preseason Players to Watch. Hamler comes into this season having made 35 starts at Midfielder for the Panthers. He scored a game-winning goal a season ago in the Panthers’ win at IUPUI and recorded two goals in EIU’s exhibition win over Parkland Community College. Hamler leads all returning Panthers with 14 shots recorded a season ago. Smith appeared in all 15 games for EIU a season ago, including six starts. He scored a game-winning goal in EIU’s home win over St. Thomas.
Sunday will mark the 20th all-time meeting between the Panthers and the Mastodons. EIU leads the all-time series 12-7. In the last meeting, Purdue Fort Wayne beat EIU 1-0 a season ago at Lakeside Field.
The Panthers will head on the road again to take on the Dayton Flyers on Tuesday, September 13. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 PM CT.
The Oakley Era Begins
This season is the first under the new head coach Josh Oakley, who was hired as the 11th head coach in the history of the program on June 29. A native of Mattoon, Ill., Oakley previously served as an assistant coach at EIU from 2000-02, and returns to Charleston after a successful stint at Lansing Common FC in the Midwest Premier League. Oakley also has previous collegiate coaching experience with stops at Spring Arbor University, Alma College, and Asbury College.