World-famous soccer player Mia Hamm once said, “I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.”
The Prairie Fire women’s soccer team (2-10, 1-3) will not be Midwest Conference champions or NCAA Division III champions this season, but the team’s members rely on each other, sacrifice for each other and are ultimate champions.
This past weekend, they were able to achieve cohesiveness and had excellent play when they battled the St. Norbert College Green Knights and the Lawrence University Vikings up in Wisconsin.
Last Saturday, the Prairie Fire took the field against St. Norbert in De Pere, Wis. Despite the fact it was 38 degrees at game time, the Green Knights came out fast and hot, scoring in the fourth minute of play. In the 24th minute, Norbert’s Jessica Schadrie scored her second goal of the half to put the Green Knights up 3-0.
In the second half of play, Knox’s offensive struggles continued. However, the passes were clean and crisp, the team played together, and they did not allow the Green Knights to score.
In the game, the Green Knights were able to barrage sophomore goalkeeper Alex Rauland with 17 shots. The Prairie Fire, on the other hand, could only manage two shots as the offense was stifled by a defense that has allowed just 13 goals all year. Knox’s defense was strong and allowed the least amount of goals to Norbert since 2005.
“The Norbert game was probably the first time all season that everything really clicked together and everyone was playing well as a whole,” said Prairie Fire assistant soccer coach John Baillie. “For a loss, it was a very good game.”
The Prairie Fire played the Vikings the next day in Appleton, Wis. and was defeated by a score of 4-0.
“The Lawrence game, we came out a little tired and was not as successful as the game before in the first half,” Baillie said.
The Vikings took advantage of Knox’s slow play and scored four first-half goals. This included a hat trick by Mallory Koula. Like the day before, the Prairie Fire showed their resiliency and prevented Lawrence from scoring in the second half. One of the largest reasons for this was Rauland’s 17 saves in the contest.
“As goalkeeper, you can see the entire field. You are the only person that can see everything that is going on, so you obviously need to be commander in chief, telling people where to mark and push up,” Rauland said.
Although the weekend ended in losses, the Prairie Fire women’s soccer team is ready to reload for this weekend’s important home games against Ripon College (2-10) at 11 a.m. on Saturday and number one in the conference, Carroll University (10-1-1) at 11 a.m. on Sunday at Jorge Prats Field.
When asked about this weekend, Baillie said, “I think more than anything this year, our conference has proved that anyone can beat anyone at any point.”
Rauland revealed her thoughts about the next games.
“In the locker room, we always listen to music before the games to get pumped up. We know we can do it. We just have to come out ready to play. I think if we come out with that mentality, then we will have a really good shot at winning.”