The 2009 Prairie Fire men’s soccer team’s (3-15, 0-9) season officially came to a close on Halloween with a match in Grinnell, Iowa against the Grinnell College Pioneers (9-7-2, 6-1-2), which Knox lost by a score of 7-0.
“I thought we played really well against Grinnell. They got an early two goals in on us, and we were short on subs, and I just think we hung our heads after that,” coach Jeff Bernhardt said. “But all in all, I don’t think the score reflects the game.”
The Pioneers, who hold second place in the Midwest Conference (MWC), were able to score first on a goal by Andrew Stephenson just two minutes into the game. Grinnell kept coming and scored another goal six minutes later. Thomas Gerberding assisted both goals.
Disaster struck the Prairie Fire in the first half when senior goalkeeper Max Miller wound up on the ground clutching his leg. He had to come out of the game. Since Miller was the only goalkeeper on the roster, seniors Jared Jaggers and Jules Trachsel shared time in the goal. They both combined for 12 saves.
“Max did get hurt. He was in mid-play and went down with his right knee,” Bernhardt said. “Not sure what exactly happened but he had a great season and carried us through some games. He could have easily told me mid-season that he was hurting and had to sit a game, but like the true champion he is, he gave us everything he had.”
In the second half, Grinnell poured in five more goals to make the final score 7-0.
Before the game ended, Bernhardt put Miller back on the field and told him “to just stand there and not worry about any shots” because he wanted Miller’s season to end with him in goal.
Looking back on the season, the Prairie Fire scored 24 goals. Thirteen of those goals came from seniors.
“This season was a good one. I will remember the seniors the most. They really displayed great leadership,” Bernhardt said. “This was one group that could have shut down on me and could have come into the season saying, ‘we will do what we want; it’s our last year.’ These guys took my strict preseason and season rules and really led by example.”
For next year, Bernhardt is looking to bring in some more height, more strength and more speed. All of these qualities will complement the talented underclassman. So next year, look for an exciting and dynamic new team.