By: Myla Stewart
MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois men’s soccer traveled to Denver, CO for their final game of the regular season on Nov. 5. The Leathernecks lost 4-2 in a 90 minute battle against ranked Denver University.
Denver is currently ranked No. 10 in the nation for NCAA men’s soccer, and the head-to-head matchup between the Neck’s and the Pios was close for 58 minutes of play. Denver opened the scoring first with a shot finishing in the left side of the net in the 14th minute. It wasn’t long until Western responded with the game-tying goal. Sofian Maghouz was able to find Ryan DeBois in the box for a heel flick to the far post netting. This would be the first goal Denver has let in throughout their past four games. The Pioneers kept on the gas pedal, and were able to finish another one before the half. With a tight one-on-one situation and another left side finish, the Pios took the lead 2-1. Nine minutes later, freshman Adam Miller came in off the bench for the Neck’s and hit a lefty rebound shot into the top bins behind Denver’s keeper. Going into halftime tied 2-2, the Neck’s were putting up quite the unexpected fight.
About 13 minutes into the second half, Denver got the one-up on an absolute stunner of a shot from outside the 18. The score stood at 3-2 for 28 minutes, with a chance for the Neck’s to tie it up. Unfortunately with five minutes remaining, DU was able to increase their lead to two off of a free-kick outside the box. The final whistle would blow, and that would be it for WIU men’s soccer.
Concluding their season with a record of 2-8-7 overall and 2-3-3 in conference play, Western finishes in fifth place in the Summit League rankings. With the conclusion of the regular season, Western soccer got on the leaderboards for some stats. Maghouz finished fifth for average shots per game and Alex Flowers stands at sixth for average shutouts per game, saves per game, and goals against average. Leading WIU was Muazu Sagir with 10 points with three goals and four assists. Senior Kyle Owen led the team in goals with four and Sagir was second. Owen was named to the All-League Honorable Mention team for his play this season.
Once again, Western finished in fifth place and was one rank shy of making the Summit League tournament for two consecutive years. The matchup against Denver was the conclusion of the Leathernecks 2022 fall season, the next time they are back in action is spring of 2023.