The day before securing the Midwest Conference men’s soccer championship, the Carroll University Pioneers scored three goals in the first 12 minutes to defeat the Knox College Prairie Fire 7-2 in Saturday’s match at Carroll. The Pioneers received a two-goal effort from Andy Prentice and three assists from Dona Lado in the victory, while pushing Knox’s record to 5-7 on the year (1-4 in Midwest Conference play).
Knox surrendered goals in the fifth, ninth and 12th minutes before freshman Oliver Horton put the Prairie Fire on the board, again in the 12th minute. Horton’s goal, which brought the Fire to within two, came off a deflection by the Carroll goalkeeper and brought the score to 3-1.
The Pioneers then scored four straight goals in the 19th, 36th, 47th, and 62nd minutes, effectively putting the game out of reach.
“We missed an opportunity to make it within striking distance when it was 3-1,” said junior midfielder Jeff Wozencraft. “We didn’t score, and they scored a couple quick goals and put it out of reach.”
Both teams went without a score until the 90th minute, when Knox senior Nick Craig scored off a corner kick from freshman Marcos Moreno with 15 seconds remaining. Craig’s goal brought the Prairie Fire within five, but it was too little, too late. Time expired, and Knox dropped the first contest of the weekend, 7-2.
The Pioneers out-shot the Prairie Fire 22-5, with 16 of those shots on goal. Knox had only three corner kicks, compared with 17 for Carroll. Knox senior keeper Cary Archer had eight saves in 76 minutes of play.
“Carroll is the best in the conference, and we were outplayed,” Wozencraft said. “We had a few good plays, and we had some success. But they were bigger and had some really solid players.”
On Sunday, the Prairie Fire had an opportunity at redemption against the Ripon Red Hawks. But Ripon doubled Knox in shots on goal, scoring two quick goals in the middle of the second half in the 2-0 Ripon victory.
The game remained scoreless through halftime, with neither team moving the ball much until well after the intermission. Ripon scored once in the 63rd minute, and again in the 65th minute on goals from Kris Hanson and Chris Quillman, respectively. Knox took only eight shots (three on goal) in the defeat. Senior Abasam Onyia and junior Lawrence Povoas led the Prairie Fire in shots, with two each (one on goal apiece). Senior Jean-Igor Michaux provided the final shot on goal. Archer provided four saves in a losing effort.
“It’s frustrating because, on paper, we were a stronger team,” Wozencraft said. “We let them gain confidence by not executing and scoring, and knowing we could have executed better leaves a bad taste in your mouth.”
Knox returns to Jorge Prats Field this Saturday for the first of three home contests to close out the season. This showdown, a rematch of a tie game last year, pits the Prairie Fire against Beloit College at 3:30 p.m., following the women’s contest.
“There are some lingering feelings from last year’s tie, and it has to provide some motivation,” Wozencraft explained of the upcoming confrontation. “When you step on the field, you’re trying to gain respect. We have to show some pride and earn that respect.”