Striving to win consecutive conference contests for the first time this season and finish seventh in the Midwest Conference standings, the Knox College women’s soccer team fell to Lake Forest 5-0 on Saturday, Oct. 29. The contest marked the final appearance at Jorge Pratts Field for seniors Emily Turner, Claire Turner and Alex Rauland.
Lake Forest — mired in an eight-game losing streak that began on Sept. 27 following the Foresters’ torrid 5-1 start — was determined to bring its string of losses to a cessation and clinch seventh place in the MWC by unleashing a 30-shot offensive attack upon Knox goalkeepers sophomore Rachel Koene and Emily Turner.
In her 16:47 between the pipes, Turner did not allow a Forester score, turning away seven Lake Forest shots. Koene supplanted Turner for the remainder of the contest and also performed well in the net.
At 25:57, Courtenay Raymond netted a goal off of a Megan O’Connor corner kick to give the Foresters a goal advantage. Thanks to stout defense, Lake Forest maintained its goal advantage through the first 45 minutes of play. During the 47th minute of play, Emily Keast scored and expanded the Lake Forest lead to two goals. Less than a minute later, O’Connor put a shot past Koene for her own tally and offered the Foresters a three-goal cushion they would sustain during the remainder of the match.
Despite allowing three goals, Koene provided the Fire with a laudable performance in her 74:13 of goalkeeping and stopped 11 Forester shots. Once again, the culprit for the Fire’s defeat appeared to be a feeble offensive attack, which fired a mere five shots on goal to Lake Forest goalie Bri Schleibinger.
The next day the team traveled to Grinnell, Iowa for its season finale against the formidable Grinnell College Pioneers. The Prairie Fire was looking to ruin the Grinnell’s conference title hopes, but the Pioneers dominated the match, winning 5-0.
Before the 15-minute mark, Grinnell freshman defender Morgan Sullivan put a shot past Koene (who received the starting nod in net from head coach Melissa Joseph) and gave the Pioneers an advantage that they would not relinquish.
At 19:03, senior forward Cynthia Dominguez fortified the Pioneer lead with her third tally of the 2011 season. Thereafter, Knox was able to keep the Pioneers from finding the back of the net again during the final 25:57 of first-half play and maintain its two-goal deficit.
During the initial 23 minutes of the second half, Knox continued its solid defensive effort evident during the concluding 25 minutes of the first half by shutting out Grinnell. The Fire’s fortunes swiftly changed at the 68:10 mark, as Hannah Safter’s score was followed by Grinnell goals at the 74 and 76 minute marks, which expanded the Pioneer advantage to five goals.
By stifling the Fire offensive attack, Grinnell preserved its lead and reigned victorious in a match it needed to win in order to garner a piece of the Midwest Conference championship.
A lackluster offensive performance coupled with a porous defense culminated in a defeat for the Fire, who allowed 29 shots. Knox’s sole shot came from the foot of s Emily Turner in her final collegiate contest.
Ending the season
In spite of weekend losses Knox was able to finish eighth in the MWC standings (ahead of Illinois College and Beloit College) and avoid the standings’ cellar: a position that the conference’s coaches predicted Knox would finish upon the 2011 campaign’s conclusion.
Leading scorer Arielle Dorman, who finished fifth in the Midwest Conference — in goal with 12 and points with 29 — was impressed with the Fire’s play considering the 2011 campaign represented a “rebuilding season.” While studying abroad in France during spring term 2012, the junior forward will participate in Coach Joseph’s spring conditioning program.
“Coach Joseph has a pretty good workout planned for us,” Dorman said.
Dorman’s enthusiasm for the off-season conditioning program Joesph planned emanates from the forward’s firm belief that the program was the underlying cause of her attaining of the “best shape [she has] been in the off-season.”
Dorman displayed comparable eagerness with respect to the 2012 season due to Joseph’s ability to recruit talented players capable of immediately contributing at the college level.
“Next year, we’ll have the numbers and get more talent,” Dorman said.