The weather added even more ice to Wisconsin’s reputation as a cold host this past weekend as the Knox Prairie Fire men’s soccer team (3-10, 0-5) took on the St. Norbert College Green Knights (8-4) and the Lawrence University Vikings (3-6-4).
Before the trip to Wisconsin, Prairie Fire head coach Jeff Bernhardt said, “A win would be great; however, what I am more concerned about is the team competing, playing hard. If we do that, the win will take care of itself.”
The Prairie Fire took on the Green Knights last Saturday in De Pere, Wis., the third-place team in the Midwest Conference. The Green Knights scored three goals in the first half, two from freshman midfielder Mark Burmesch, but the game was still within reach at halftime.
Unfortunately for the Fire, St. Norbert netted six second half goals to put away the Prairie Fire. The Green Knights were able to get 27 shots off. Knox could only get off one and lost 9-0.
When asked if he was concerned with the lack of offensive production from his team, Bernhardt said, “We are a different team when we score first. It seems like if the other team scores first, we give up, and we just can’t do that.”
The next day, the Prairie Fire played Lawrence in Appleton, Wis. Knox was able to hold off the Viking attack for almost the whole first half, but the defense broke down with eight minutes left in the half when the Vikings took a 1-0 lead. The Vikings took advantage of the turmoil after the goal and netted another three minutes later.
“Another reason the weekend didn’t go so well is that every time a goal was scored, our heads would go down. And we just got really discouraged, and we basically stopped playing,” said sophomore midfielder Oliver Horton.
The second half did not go well as the Vikings scored a quadruplet of goals making the final score 6-0. This loss keeps the men in last place in the conference.
The Prairie Fire have a chance to bounce back this weekend as they play against tough competition: Ripon College (4-8-1) on Saturday and Carroll University (10-1-2), who sit atop and third in the conference standings respectively, on Sunday. The team plays at 1:30 p.m. both days.
“We’ve got a lot of good seniors out there like Wozy [Jeff Wozencraft] and Jared Jaggers. I mean all those guys really know what they are doing,” Horton said about their upcoming games. “I don’t think we will have trouble focusing. It’s just whether we will be game-day ready. But we gotta come out and play for the seniors. Just forget that attitude that we are going to lose.”