EU men’s soccer fought long and hard, but in the end were handed a loss by Wilkes University on Homecoming weekend.
The opening minutes of the game saw play go back and forth, and it was Wilkes who struck first. In the 20th minute, Sean Stitt of Wilkes found himself facing senior goalkeeper Michael Dorsch and coolly slid it home. Eastern managed to regain the momentum and, after dominating possession, found the equalizer in the 29th minute. First-year Braden Gross was the final recipient of brilliant short passing and tucked the ball he received from sophomore Phil Mantua into the left netting. Minutes later, Eastern continued to press the advantage, earning a corner in the 32nd minute after Wilkes appeared to be confused by the mounting pressure. Eastern failed to capitalize and headed into the half tied at 1-1.
Eastern came out of the gate strong in the second half but still could not seem to find the back of the net, despite numerous chances. Wilkes provided a scare in the 54th minute, scoring on a rebound, but the goal was discounted by an offsides call. Minutes later, junior Terry Fry almost scored on a rebound but Wilkes’ goal-keeper, TJ Paloga, made the save. Eastern appeared determined to earn the victory, almost scoring again in the 73rd minute on a cross served in by first-year Mitch Thomas.
In the 78th minute, Dorsch was forced to push the ball to the right of the goal after an impressive shot, and on the ensuing corner, Wilkes’ Rusty Helwig pushed home the winner. Eastern frantically tried to find the equalizer, but Wilkes’ defense pushed back every lob and through ball, handing Eastern men’s soccer a tough 2-1 loss. The loss drops the Eagles to 6-5-1 on the season.