After managing to score one goal in their last two road games, it seems the Prairie Fire couldn’t utilize the home crowd support to ignite their offense. Knox (0-5-0 MWC, 2-11-1 overall) was shut out by the visiting Grinnell College (5-0-0, 7-4-0) on a final score of 0-3. This was the fourth time opponents have shut out the Prairie Fire, extending their losing streak to six games.
With four more games to play in the regular season, head coach Kevwe Akpore and a few players had some thoughts on their six-game losing streak, as well as ways to finish strong.
Akpore re-emphasized the lack of focus as one of the few obstacles extending the losing streak, but strongly insists the team must maintain confidence in adverse situations to win games, while learning to move on from the games that they lost.
Sophmore Donald Tchopya offered a different view.
“We need to improve a lot on our communication skills and our passing skills. I think we need to play collective,” Tchopya said. “Our big issue now is finishing the goal.”
Freshman Demoz Desta, on the other hand, emphasized more practice and maintaining proper health as the key towards building a winning season.
“I feel like we need to practice more and get our health together. Most of our players are injured, especially the starters. So it’s important that everybody gets healthy and everybody comes out to support the whole team. We just need to go out there and practice.”
Junior Jamie Jang agreed. “We’ve been plagued by a lot of injury… so, if we could stay healthy–it’s kind of too late now in the season, but next year we have a lot to look forward to.” Jang, too, has been bit by the injury bug–bothered by a bum ankle.
Grinnell College’s sophomore Charlie Kessner scored his first assisted goal six minutes into the game during the first half. He later had another assisted goal with the help of fellow teammate Reed Carson to give Grinnell a 2-0 advantage.
But Grinnell’s third goal did not come from their players. Instead, it came from a Knox player failing to clear his goal, increasing Grinnell’s lead to 3-0.
The day before, Knox fell on the road at Illinois College, 4-1. Freshman Maxwell Gatyas scored the Prairie Fire’s lone goal in the 90th minute. It may have been the team’s most realistic chance of picking up a conference victory, as the Blue Boys entered the game with zero conference wins. Corey Marin led Illinois College with two goals, each in the second half. They are now 1-4 in conference play and 3-11 overall.
After Sunday’s home game, Knox will travel to Wisconsin to face to Carroll University (4-1-0 MWC, 6-6-1 overall) on Oct. 16 and Ripon College (6-0-0, 9-3-0) on Oct. 17. They will then return home to face Beloit College on Homecoming Day, and conclude their season on Oct. 26 facing Monmouth College (1-3, 2-9) in Monmouth, Ill.