Preparing For The Panthers

Preparing For The Panthers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont University men's soccer team (4-6-2) finishes up a three-game road stint in Charleston, Ill. Tuesday as they take on the Eastern Illinois Panthers (3-6-5).

Just 24 hours ago, the Bruins took on Horizon League foe IUPUI in a crucial conference matchup.  The Bruins took home the 1-0 victory on the windy and rainy day in downtown Indianapolis.  

Senior Adriano Balani (Durres, Albania) netted the lone goal of the match after a spectacular corner kick from the right side curved on frame.  The Jags keeper attempted to punch the ball out before it crossed the end line, but was unsuccessful. 

Belmont, who has been averaging just over six corner kicks per game, took eleven in the latest contest, proving to be the offensive aggressor in the matchup.

Scouting the Panthers

Head Coach Kiki Lara is in his third season at the helm of the Eastern Illinois men's soccer program.  The Panthers are strong defensively, leading the Summit League in team save percentage (0.845), team saves per game (5.46), and team shutout percentage (0.380).  The Panthers average 6.9 shots per game and have netted four goals on the season.  The Panthers have taken 48 corner kicks to their opponents 74.

Player to Watch

Senior Mike Novotny has been solid between the posts for the Panthers.  Novotny leads the nation in goalie minutes played, having played all 1395 minutes for Eastern Illinois.  He leads the conference in save percentage (0.845), saves per game (5.46), shutouts (6), and total saves (75).

Last Time Out

Saturday, the Panthers defeated Oral Roberts 1-0 at Lakeside Field. 

Series Breakdown

The Bruins are 1-3-0 all-time against Eastern Illinois.  The last meeting between the programs was in 2012 when the Panthers defeated the Bruins 2-1 in Charleston, Ill.  

Defensive Matchup 

Both squads have been tough on the defensive end this season.  The Panthers lead the Summit League in three defensive statistics.  The Bruins are third in the Horizon League in team save percentage (0.742) and saves per game (4.08).  BU has recorded four shutouts.

Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m. CT.  Follow @BelmontMSoccer on twitter for live updates.