Following an exciting overtime win from the Eastern men’s soccer team in the semifinals on November 2, the #2-seeded Eagles fell to the top-seeded DeSales University in the MAC Championship finals Saturday, November 6.
The final score of the game was 3-0. The Eagles let in all three of the goals in the first half. The young Eastern squad, who started five first-years in the game, were able to settle down in the second half but were unable to rally a comeback.
The first goal was scored only 13 minutes into the game, as the Bulldogs directed a header into the goal.
The second goal was scored by DeSales’ Freedom Conference Player of the Year, Derek Long, and the third and final blow came with only a minute left in the first half.
Despite the championship loss, the men’s soccer season was very successful with only two conference losses during the regular season, and the Eagles went away this year with a number of MAC recognitions. First-year James Le received the Rookie of the Year award as well as a placement on the All-Conference second team, being one of two Eastern players to start every game.
Le wasn’t the only Eagle to receive an award from the MAC. Junior Braden Gross and seniors Ben Faro, Phil Mantua and Kyle Hurst earned spots on the All-Conference first team, and junior Jon Crowder joined Le on the second team.
Also, the Eastern team as a whole stayed consistently within the top three positions in the conference-only statistics, specifically in points per game (4), goals per game (1.29), assists per game (1.43) and shutouts (0.57).
However, the season was a building year, graduating only four seniors. The senior class tallied a combined number of 25 points throughout the season, which was nearly a third of Eastern’s total offense. Seniors Kyle Richards, Mantua, Faro and Hurst have all helped set a foundation for the younger players to build on in the coming years.
Head coach Mark Wagner, who received the Freedom Conference Coach of the Year award, spoke highly of all his seniors saying that their contributions were “the most significant of any senior class in the time I have been at Eastern.”