EIU Panthers

Monday, August 17, 2009

Women's Soccer Wins Exhibition

Eastern Illinois women's soccer had a new look on Monday afternoon as the Panthers picked up a 3-0 win over IPFW in exhibition play at Lakeside Field.

While the win was nice it was the style of play that should have Panther soccer fans excited about the possibilities that the 2009 may hold in store. That style installed by new head coach Summer Perala was on display from opening whistle.

EIU won the opening kick and quickly took the ball down field and fired the first of 14 shots on goal in the opening 1:45 of the game as Kaitlin Sullivan made an attempt. IPFW's goalkeeper was able to make the stop but EIU continued the offensive pressure with Ashley Streid scoring at the 18 minute mark.

EIU would tack on two second half goals on penalty kicks by Rachel Hamilton and Sullivan. On the afternoon EIU had a 14-1 shots on goal advantage.

The Panthers were 3-14-2 last season scoring only one goal in their first 12 contests. IPFW was 0-17-1 last season but did put up a fight against OVC predicted champion Murray State in weekend exhibition play losing to the Racers 3-2.

EIU will open its regular season this Friday at IUPUI. Their first home match is on Friday, Sept. 4 at Lakeside Field against Indiana State.

For EIU fans their is definately a different attitude among the EIU women's soccer team and they are deserving of your support all season long.

Besides that you can't be the cost - It's FREE!!!!

Here is the complete game story

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Football First Practice

Eastern Illinois players had their first chance to hit the practice field in preparation for the 2009 season as they practiced under the lights at O'Brien Field on Saturday evening. The decision to practice at night allowed the Panthers to avoid the heat advisory that had hit central Illinois during the day.

"It turned out to be a great night for practice," said long time EIU head coach Bob Spoo as he met with members of the media prior to the first practice. "We are working on improving from last year's season and that means improving in the fundamentals of blocking, tackling and maintaining control of the football."

The first day of practice was done in helmets and shorts as the Panthers work towards the first full day of contact practice on Wednesday. EIU will practice again on Sunday evening and then host media day and a free kid's clinic on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. at O'Brien Field.

Position Battles

With the transfer of Iowa quarterback Jake Christensen to the mix, Eastern Illinois will open fall camp with the quarterback position as a focus for the second year in a row. Last season the focus was on who would win the back-up position while this year it will be a three-man race for the starting spot. The Panthers return senior Bodie Reeder who was a starter last season and for the final eight games of the 2008 season. Christensen was a starter at Iowa in 2007 and started two games for the Hawkeyes last season before deciding to transfer at the end of the season. In addition to the two seniors, redshirt freshman Doug Reynolds will also challenge for the spot after taking a majority of the snaps during spring workouts.

"I'm excited to get back on the field and play football," said Reeder prior to the start of practice. "Our team was not happy with the way that last season ended and as a senior class we want to return this program to the playoffs. I think as a player you always want to have competition, its what makes you better."

The Panthers will also be looking for some battles at wide receiver. EIU returns one starter from last season in junior Charles Graves. In spring camp sophomore Lorence Ricks stepped up to assume a starting role to open camp. Beyond that EIU will have a large group of incoming freshmen and returning reddshirt freshmen who will battle for that last starting spot and challenge the two incumbent receivers.

The only other position that appears to be open for competition on day one of camp is at defensive line. The Panthers lost three All-OVC starters in Pierre Walters, Donovan Johnson and Jeff Sobol to graduation. The lone returning starter in senior Andre Lima at defensive tackle. Look for Trevor Frericks and Spyros Bazigos to compete on the interior line while the defensive end competition is wide open.

Scoreboard Update

Construction is underway on the new video scoreboard being installed for this season at O'Brien Field. The support beams for the board were cemented into the north endzone last week with the frame work expected to start going up on Tuesday. EIU purchased the new video/audio system for O'Brien Field which will be used for home football games, home track meets and the IHSA State Track Championships. The board was developed by Daktronics, Inc.

The 2009 season opens in less than a month with a Sept. 3 game against Illinois State in the Prairie State Rivalry. Kick off is at 7 p.m. on Thursday night. Season and single game tickets are now on sale at (217) 581-2106 or online at www.eiupanthers.com

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Most Exciting Time Of The Year

It is said that the most exciting time of the year for college sports fans is either college football bowl season, NCAA March Madness or the baseball/softball College World Series depending on which season you favor.

For a coach or administrator in college athletics you would have to say that early August is the most exciting time of the year. The student-athletes are returning to campus and everyone can dream and work towards conference championships and post-season competition. This season is no different on the Eastern Illinois campus.

Earlier this week women's soccer and football returned to Charleston with both getting into a full swing of practices while volleyball reports over the weekend and men's soccer and women's rugby filter into campus over the upcoming week.

Each program is filled with a season of expectations. The women's soccer and volleyball teams are both headed in a different direction as they have new coaches running their programs - Summer Perala in women's soccer and Alan Segal in volleyball. Both programs will find out where they are picked to finish in the Ohio Valley Conference race later this week when the league does its preseason release.

Football preseason polls have already been released with the Panthers projected to finish third in OVC race.

In addition to the excitement on the field are some additions to the coverage of Eastern Illinois Panther Athletics. Already you can find posts on Twitter and Facebook (Eastern-Illinois-Panthers). This fall EIU will also roll out this Panther Athletics Blog along with enhanced podcasts and video content on YouTube.

We look forward to an exciting year of Panther Athletics and hope you can join us for many home events in Charleston and continue to follow us on http://www.eiupanthers.com/

Friday, August 7, 2009

Football Camp Opens, Panthers Add Three

CHARLESTON, Ill. – Eastern Illinois football reported for fall camp on Thursday afternoon with three former NCAA Division I players joining the team for the 2009 season. Those players include Jake Christensen, Mike Letton and Jim Potempa. All three players have been admitted to Eastern Illinois and will begin practicing with the team on Saturday when drills begin.

Christensen was a three-year quarterback at the University of Iowa starting as a sophomore. That season he passed for 2,269 yards and 17 touchdowns as Iowa finished at 6-6. As a junior he started two games for the Hawkeyes finishing the season with 396 yards passing as the team ended the year playing in the Outback Bowl. He participated in the Army All-American Bowl as a senior at Lockport (Ill.) High School. His father Jeff played at Eastern Illinois in the early 1980’s.

Letton transferred to Eastern Illinois after spending last season at the US Naval Academy. He redshirted at Navy after a standout career at Bishop McNamara High School in Custer Park, Ill. Letton, who will play defensive line, signed with EIU out of high school before earning an appointment to Navy.

Potempa is a running back/wide receiver transfer from the University of Michigan. He appeared in three games as a freshman in 2007 before redshirting last season for the Wolverines. He was the East Suburban Catholic Conference Offensive Player of the Year at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Ill.

The Panthers will hold their first practice of the 2009 fall season on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at O’Brien Field. Media day and a free kid’s clinic will take place at O’Brien Field on Monday, August 10 starting at 1 p.m.

The regular season kicks off on Sept. 3 against Illinois State. Season and single game tickets are now on sale by calling 217-581-2106 or online at www.EIUpanthers.com