Tough conditions in South Bend

Staff Report

The Eastern men’s and women’s cross country teams competed Friday at the Notre Dame Gold Division Invite in South Bend, Ind.

Despite low temperatures in the 40s with winds blowing at 20-30 mph, and top gusts reaching 40 mph and above, and an extremely wet course due to severe rain in the area over the past week, the Panthers came out in the top 10.

The women placed sixth overall against 20 teams.

Grand Valley State won the meet with 40 points, followed by Northwestern with 56 points, Central Michigan University with 61 points, Indiana State with 173 points and Bradley University with 219 points.

The top finisher for the Panther women’s team was red-shirt junior Olivia Klaus for the third straight meet.

Klaus placed 28th out of 170 total runners in the 5K course with a time of 18:31.

Other scoring finishers for the Panther women include Erika Ramos in 41st with a time of 18:48, Britney Whitehead in 51st, Megan Gingerich in 53rd and Caitlin Napoleoni in 65th.

The Panther men placed eighth overall against 20 teams.

The top finisher for the Panther men was red-shirt senior Brad LaRocque for the third meet straight. LaRocque placed 30th out of 165 total runners on the 8K course with a time of 25:50.

Other scoring finishers for the Panther men include Danny Delaney in 52nd with a time of 26:08, Bryce Basting in 56th, Graham Morris in 71st and Matt Feldhake in 73rd.

The Panther men and women will return to action in two weeks for the Bradley Classic in Peoria.

Split on OVC road

Staff Report

It was the second weekend of Ohio Valley Conference for Eastern’s women’s soccer team.

They were into the weekend 2-0, but came out 3-1 after a loss to Southeastern Missouri followed by a win over Tennessee-Martin by the same score.

The weekend started with 82 scoreless minutes for the Panthers on Friday against Southeast Missouri until Redhawk forward Erin Shulman netted one in the closing minutes to give Southeast Missouri the win.

The goal came against red-shirt sophomore goalie Jessica Taldone, who made a season-high 14 saves throughout the contest.

Reigning Adidas OVC Defender of the Week Brenna Vogel led the Panthers offensively against Southeast Missouri, as the sophomore took two shots, one on goal, against the Redhawks.

Southeast Missouri’s goalie only had to make one save to record the shutout against the Panthers.

The loss to Southeast Missouri also saw Panther skipper Summer Perala fail in her third attempt to beat Southeast Missouri, dropping her record as head coach to 0-2-1 against the Redhawks.

Following their loss to Southeast Missouri the Panthers traveled to Martin, Tenn., to take on the Skyhawks in a Sunday afternoon tilt that saw the Panthers, this time, winning a 1-0 decision.

The only goal of that match was scored by junior midfielder/forward Jessie Morgan in the 75th minute on a pass from red-shirt junior Ashley Streid.

The goal was Morgan’s first of the season and the first game-winner of her Panther career.

Taldone was in goal again for the Panthers in Martin, notching another 14-save performance for the shutout, totaling a final weekend save percentage of .966 for the red-shirt sophomore.

Junior forward Kristin Germann led the Panther attack with two shots, one on goal. Morgan, Streid and Vogel added one shot on goal each against the Skyhawks.

The win against UT Martin lifted Perala’s career record against the Skyhawks to 2-1 as a Panther.

The weekend lifts the Panthers to 4-7-2 overall and 1-5-2 away from Lakeside Field.

The Panthers will be off for family weekend and return to action at Lakeside Field Oct. 14 and 16 against Eastern Kentucky at 3 p.m. and Morehead State at 1 p.m.

Panthers drop two OVC matches over weekend

Staff Report

The Panthers lost two Ohio Valley Conference matches over the weekend, one to reigning OVC champions Morehead State and one to Eastern Kentucky.

The weekend losses move the Panthers to 4-13 overall and 2-5 in conference play.

Despite leading in overall kills, assists, and digs, the Panthers dropped a tough four-set OVC home match to Eastern Kentucky (28-26, 25-23, 19-25, 25-21) Friday.

Junior Emily Franklin led the team in the loss against Eastern Kentucky with 18 kills and 17 digs and nine kills and three digs Saturday.

Sophomore Reynae Hutchinson scored 17 kills and 16 digs Friday while acquiring nine kills and 11 digs Saturday.

On Friday against Eastern Kentucky, the first two sets featured 25 ties and seven lead changes as both teams were neck and neck until the other Eastern prevailed.

The last set in the series featured six ties and two lead changes and at one point, the Panthers led.

Unfortunately, Eastern Kentucky tied it up off of Panther miscues.  Down 22-17, the Panthers pulled within two, but errors would give Eastern Kentucky the match at 25-21.

In Saturday’s game against Morehead State, they were able to hold on and top the Panthers in total kills (46 to 35), assists (43 to 33), aces (nine to two), digs (48 to 36), and blocks (seven to five).

After losing the first set 25-12, the Panthers gave Morehead State a good run, coming together for 21 ties and eight lead changes over the final two sets.

Despite the weekend’s losses, Eastern still holds a game lead over both teams overall.
They are 16-15 over Eastern Kentucky, with Friday’s loss being Eastern’s eighth straight loss against them.

Eastern holds a slim lead over Morehead State with a 15-14 all-time series lead.
The next game is against OVC rival Southeast Missouri Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Eastern loses 4 in a row

Pete Houlihan, sophomore defensive back and special teams player, stiff arms a defender while returning a punt Sept. 1 in a game against Illinois State on O'Brien Field.(Kimberly Foster | The Daily Eastern News)

By Dominic Renzetti/Sports Editor

The Eastern football team fell for the fourth straight week.
This week they came up short against Ohio Valley Conference opponent Southeast Missouri.

Eastern entered the game without a win against a conference opponent, while Southeast Missouri had yet to win a game this season.

The Redhawks’ 37-30 win over the Panthers brings their overall record to 1-3, with a 1-1 record in the OVC, while the Panthers are now 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the OVC.

Defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni put the game’s end result into simple terms following the Panthers’ loss.

“We got beat, simple as that,” Bellantoni said.

Bellantoni said a key factor in the team’s loss was Southeast Missouri State’s ability to run the ball at will.

The Redhawks finished with a total of 411 rushing yards among four different players.

Quarterback Matt Scheible led the team with 161 rushing yards, while running back and fullback Levi Terrell and Ron Coleman had 106 and 77 yards, respectively. Running back Renard Celestin also had 71 yards on just two touches.

“Their quarterback is a very good player who is able to make plays,” Bellantoni said.

Scheible’s 161 yards were a career high for the junior quarterback, who threw for three touchdowns to compliment his two rushing touchdowns.

Scheible completed 14 of 18 pass attempts, totaling 130 yards.

Scheible’s leading receiver was D.J. Foster, who had three catches, two of which were for touchdowns, totaling 56 yards.

Red-shirt junior running back Jake Walker shared the load for the Panthers with red-shirt freshman AJ Woodson.

Walker finished with 43 yards on the ground and one touchdown, while Woodson had 36 yards, but averaged 5.1 yards per carry.
Walker averaged just 3.3 yards per carry.

Sophomore quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw 26 passes in the game, completing 16 of them for a total of 192 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Garoppolo’s leading receiver was red-shirt junior Von Wise, who had four catches for 65 yards.

Junior wide receiver Chris Wright saw Garoppolo’s only touchdown pass of the night, while also finishing with 24 yards on three catches.

Junior wide receiver Kenny Whittaker also had four catches in the game, finishing with 30 yards.

Bellantoni said the team’s problems didn’t have to do so much with compatibility and attitude as it did technical issues and efficiency.

“It’s a matter of execution, not morale,” Bellantoni said.

The Panthers will get another shot at a win over an OVC opponent at the Family Weekend game against Eastern Kentucky.

Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at O’Brien Field.

Dominic Renzetti can be reached at 581-7944 or dcrenzetti@eiu.edu.

West conquers East

By Rob Mortell/Staff Reporter

The first Summit League match for Eastern’s men’s soccer team ended in a tough 3-0 loss.

Head coach Adam Howarth called the Panthers performance disappointing.

“We struggled as a group and did not finish our chances,” Howarth said. “(Western) is a good team, but we did not play well.”

Eastern fell behind early when Western’s Torrance Brown scored from five yards out in the 12th minute.

Western would extend the lead as the first half was winding down.

Husref Jupic brought the lead to 2-0 with a goal just in front of the net. Mario Alvarez ended scoring for the game in the 63rd minute.

The loss drops the Panthers record to 4-5-1 overall and 0-1-1 in conference play. Western improves to 5-4-1 overall and 1-0-0 in the Summit League.

Howarth said the team normally doesn’t change how they play when they get behind early in a match.

“We have been behind before, but yesterday we struggled to get back on track,” Howarth said. “It was not for a lack of chances.”

The Panthers out-shot Western 14-13. Nine of the Panthers’ 14 shots came in the first half.

Only four of Eastern’s 14 shots were on target, but Western goalkeeper Andy Ryan managed to stop them all.

Freshman midfielder Jake Brillhart led the team with three shots. Freshmen forward Will Butler fired two shots on goal; however, he was unable to score his third goal of the season.

Howarth said the Panthers need to finish the opportunities presented to them if they are going to win matches.

“I would be more worried if we were being out shot by a lot and not creating chances,” Howarth said. “That is not the case but we do need to step up as a group.”

The Panthers return to action Friday against conference rival Oral Roberts.

“It is one game and it was an off day,” Howarth said. “We must work hard this week in training and get better each day.”

Rob Mortell can be reached at 581-7944 or at rdmortell@eiu.edu

Panthers pass first road test

Sophomore wing Cara Hahne runs and fights off a defender during a Sept. 10 game against Minnesota on Lakeside Field. Hahne matched her career high of four trys Saturday, helping the Panthers on the way to a 91-7 win over the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (Danny Damiani | The Daily Eastern News )

By Jordan Pottorff/Staff Reporter

The Eastern rugby team improved itsrecord to 4-0 after posting their first road win of the season.

This is the third consecutive season the team has hit that record.
The Panthers defeated the Fighting Illini in Champaign on their way to the 91-7 victory.

The Panthers had been held in the 20-point range for the previous two games, but Saturday the team notched its highest point total this season.

The defense has always been good, but Eastern head coach Frank Graziano said it was good to see his team pick up the pace on the other side of the ball.

“It was good for us to get going on the offensive side,” Graziano said. “We’ve been working very hard over the past two weeks and I’m very pleased with the offensive performance.”

Graziano stressed the importance of getting off to a quick start, following the two-week break between games.

Eastern’s offensive attack was out in full force, with junior wing Kayla Heal having a career day.

Heal paced the Panthers with six trys and also dished out two assists in the rout of the Illini.

Sophomore wing Cara Hahne also had a big afternoon as she recorded four trys in the win.

The four trys ties a career high for Hahne, which she set in last year’s match-up against Illinois.

Junior center Lauren Doyle and freshman fullback Nia Williams were busy; as they each chipped in two five-point trys.

Doyle also dished out a team-high three assists to go along with her two trys.

Senior scrum-half Narissa Ramirez also got in on the action, as she tallied one try and recorded three helpers in the rout of the Illini.

“Offensively, we have always had the potential to do very well and put a lot of points up, but that takes timing and the girls have to believe I called the right play at the right time,” Graziano said.

“If that happens, we have the tendency to be faster than the opposition we play,” he said.

The team will be back in action this weekend when they travel to Milwaukee to take on the Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers.

Jordan Pottorff can be reached at 581-7944 or jbpottorff@eiu.edu.

Panthers look to build on best start since 2003

Staff Report

It will be a weekend of the Hawks for Eastern’s women’s soccer team, as it will hit the road and look to build on its 2-0 Ohio Valley Conference record. The team will head to Cape Girardeau, Mo., today and Martin, Tenn., Sunday for matchups with the Redhawks and Skyhawks.

Southeast Missouri is like Eastern, 2-0 in the OVC this season, having topped Austin Peay and Murray State on the road, triumphed by a combined score of 6-1 in the two games.

The Panthers hold a 9-4-3 advantage in the all-time series against Southeast Missouri, but head coach Summer Perala is 0-1-1 in her Panther coaching career against the Redhawks. Perala picked up her first career win over Tennessee Tech last week and will obviously be looking to do the same in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Following the match with the Redhawks, the Panthers will take on the Skyhawks of Tennessee-Martin. The Skyhawks currently sit at 6-4-2 on the season and 1-0-1 in the OVC after battling to a 2-2 draw with Murray State last weekend before beating Austin Peay 2-0 in a pair of road matches.

The Panthers are 11-3-1 all-time against Tennessee-Martin and have outscored the Skyhawks by a combined 34-11 in those contests, which have included seven Panther shutouts.

Perala is 1-1 against Tennessee-Martin in her career as the Panthers’ head coach, winning the last meeting between the two teams. Last year in Charleston, now-junior forward Kristin Germann netted the game’s only goal for a 1-0 Panther win.

This year is the first time since 2003 that the Panthers have started 2-0 in conference, and sophomore defender Brenna Vogel’s first career goal last week against Tennessee Tech was enough to earn her Adidas OVC Defender of the Week honors.

Vogel and freshman Brooke Sill both netted their first career goals last weekend, as Sill’s first goal came against Jacksonville State last Sunday at Lakeside Field.

After this weekend, the Panthers will be off for Family Weekend before returning to OVC action Oct. 14 and 16 at Lakeside Field against Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State, respectively.