Inconsistency proved to be the killer for the men’s soccer team this past week. Combining the first half last Thursday’s match versus Augustana and the second half of Saturday’s conference opener against Carroll University the team was outscored just 3-2. In the other two halves however, the Prairie Fire had a negative eight goal differential.
On Thursday Augustana entered the match with a record of 5-2 and ranked ninth in the NCAA’s Central region. But the Prairie Fire held strong in the opening 45 minutes allowing only one goal.
“We are not intimidated by anybody,” said head coach Kevwe Akpore during a video post-game interview with the Knox Sports Information Department, “But we have to overcome that psychological impact when goals are scored.”
Akpore explained that when the Prairie Fire allowed another goal, things went downhill quickly. In the end the Vikings tallied the final five goals in a span of only 20 minutes, handing Knox a 6-0 defeat.
“We did not come out in the second half with intensity we needed,” Akpore said, “Our defense was bad, not entirely our defensive line, but mid-field and forwards in their roles in coming back to help the defense.”
Against Carroll the script was flipped, as Knox was down 3-0 at halftime. But the Prairie Fire matched the Pioneers goal for goal in the second frame, ultimately falling 5-2.
“It was like we didn’t play the first half,” said sophomore midfielder Dillon Kostka, “Then when we did try harder in the second we saw the difference.”
According to the coach, the struggles still seem predominantly defensive.
“Our stumbling block last year was the offense, now we are very offensive, but we still have to defend properly,” Akpore said.
Statistics back this up, as Knox has fired the second most shots in the MWC with 99 in seven games, but has allowed 35 goals in that span.
Knox’s continues conference play with a showdown against Beloit College this Sunday, Oct. 2 at 3 p.m.