EIU men's soccer plays to a draw in home opener

CHARLESTON (EIU) —Eastern Illinois men's soccer battled defensively in its home opener against Western Michigan Friday afternoon. The teams played to a 0-0 draw after 110 minutes of play.

The Panthers are now 0-0-3 at the beginning of the 2017 season. Western Michigan holds a 2-0-1 as the team collected its first draw of the season.

Western Michigan pressured the Panthers defense throughout the match. The Broncos had a total 28 shots. Brandon Bye led Western Michigan with 13 shots total, with seven of them on goal.

Federico Verlicchi had two shots for Eastern Illinois and Alex Castaneda got one. Jonathan Huerta had one shot on goal.

Goalkeeper Mike Novotny stepped up big for EIU. He played all 110 minutes in the net and tallied 16 saves for the Panthers, seven of them coming in the second half.

The Panthers hit the road to play UIC at 7 p.m. Sunday night.

Volleyball loses Classic opener

DENVER (EIU) — Eastern Illinois volleyball opened up the Denver Pioneer Classic against Niagara Friday afternoon. The Panthers lost to the Purple Eagles in their first contest of the tournament, losing a three-set match (22-25, 21-25, and 21-25).

The Panthers had their best hitting average of the match in the second set totaling .265. Taylor Smith and Maria Brown led EIU in kills for the day each totaling ten.

Eastern Illinois’ most dominant set of the day was the second set where the squad challenged the Purple Eagles, tying the set three times and taking the lead twice. Brown and Morgan Matusik gave the Panthers the offensive push they were looking for totaling four kills each in the second-set.

Smith recorded her second triple-double of the season finishing with ten kills, a team leading 19 assists, and ten digs.

Niagara was able to put the match away hitting .256 in the final set with just two attack errors. Nicole Matheis led the Purple Eagles with 12 kills. Niagara was effective at the net, finishing with six total blocks.

The Panthers return to action to start the second day of the Pioneer Classic against UC Davis at 10 a.m. Following the morning showdown, they will close out tournament play against host Denver at 7 p.m.

Hatfield wins EIU Walt Crawford Open

CHARLESTON (EIU) — Eastern Illinois cross country opened the 2017 season on Friday afternoon with impressive efforts from a veteran on the women's side and a first-time collegiate competitor on the men's side as they hosted the EIU Walt Crawford Open at the Woodall Panther Trail.

Freshman Dustin Hatfield won the men's race for EIU as he posted an 8K time of 25:09.03. He was followed by EIU senior Chris Orlow as the Panther men had four runners in the top fifteen finishers.

Senior Maria Baldwin just missed becoming a three-time champion of the Walt Crawford Open as she finished in second place with a 5K time of 17:55.73. Kaitlyn Shea of Southeast Missouri won the title with a time of 17:48.90.

The meet was a double dual meet featuring six NCAA Division I schools from Bradley, EIU, Illinois, Murray State, Southeast Missouri and SIUE. Additional schools with competitors in the field included Vincennes University, Danville Area CC, Illinois Central College, Lincoln College and Kaskaskia College.

The EIU men posted a 4-1 record in dual competition losing to Illinois. The Panther women finished with a 3-2 record with losses to Illinois and SEMO.

Hatfield's first place time was 25:09.03 as he was nearly nine seconds ahead of teammate Orlow with a time of 25:17.39 to place second. Jaime Marcos was eighth with a time of 25:51.61. Tyler Lay crossed in 12th place with a time of 25:58.60 with Jeremy Bekkouche was the final EIU scored runner in 24th place with a time of 26:42.97.

On the women's side, Baldwin was not able to catch Shea for the victory but did hold off Rebecca Craddock of Illinois in third place with a time of 17:58.72. Freshman Kate Bushue was the next EIU women's finisher with a time of 18:46.30 as she placed 13th. Ali Gutt and Grace Rowan came across the line in 22nd and 24th position. Gutt's time was 19:02.80 with Rowan slightly behind at 19:07.33. Jocelyne Mendoza was EIU's final scored runner in 27th place with a time of 19:10.68.

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