Knox College men’s soccer team faced off against Lake Forest today at 4:00 on Jorge Pratt Field. Knox came in with a 1-1 MWC record and was eager to come away with their second win in conference; after Tuesday’s loss to Illinois College, this game was crucial for the boys to win. The Lake Forest Foresters came in with a 1-0 conference record and were undefeated on the road.
The game started off with a quick chance by the Prairie Fire that resulted in a goal by senior Abdul Oganla. After the goal, both teams became more physical toward each other and showing this was a game that both teams wanted to win. A couple quick foul calls early on allowed Lake Forest to build some momentum and hold onto the ball in Knox’s zone for quite some time. However, Knox was able to hold the Foresters off with good defensive plays and some key saves from freshman goalie Justin Dunn.
With a little less than 10 minutes left in the first half, the Prairie Fire put on the pressure. Swift movement of the ball down field led to a corner kick from junior Terence Lau that freshman James Barrington put in the back of the net to give the Prairie Fire a 2-0 lead against the Foresters. After the second goal was scored, physical play ramped up for both teams. This led to a yellow card for Knox head coach Tyler Sheikh when trying to defend his teams and their physical game play. Throughout the first half, Lake Forest commanded the ball, but the Prairie Fire took advantage of the opportunities they were given and capitalized on them.
Going into the second half, both teams came back with the will to fight. Knox came away with a couple of early strikes that did not result in anything. Lake Forest, meanwhile, let their frustration get the best of them; the Foresters did not communicate as much in the second half and when they did, it was usually at the top of their lungs. After Knox received a second yellow card, Lake Forest came back to life. The Foresters made several attempts to come through with a goal but were repeatedly unsuccessful, as the Knox defense held strong. With the help from the defense and a late push by the offense to maintain possession, Lake Forest was helpless as the game wound down.
“We pride ourselves on our defense here,” said junior Andy Van Buskirk. ”The practices leading up to this game we really focused on our defense and our offense just comes naturally with that.”
The game ended with a 2-0 Prairie Fire win, which pushed the Fire to a 7-1-1 overall record and 2-1 in conference. Next for Knox is a non-conference game against Luther College on Sunday.