This weekend’s home contest was the last for Prairie Fire seniors Dana Pierce, Charlotte Garvin and Emiley Brand. The trio has over 100 combined wins for Knox, and the group was recognized before the match for “their dedication to the women’s tennis program” over the course of their careers.
The Prairie Fire faced the blazing hot Green Knights of St. Norbert over the weekend, who had swept four of their last five contests to pull their record to 9-1.
Knox could do no better against the Green Knights and was shut out 9-0. Garvin put up a fight in the #1 singles match, losing 6-4, 6-7, 0-1 to St. Norbert’s Nancy Chybowski. Pierce, too, fought admirably, losing 3-6, 6-2, 0-1 to St. Norbert’s #2 seed.
The Green Knights were able to shut out three of the four remaining singles matches of the day and Knox was equally outshined in the doubles department, losing their three matches by a combined score of 24-9.
To have a shot at competing for the MWC Team Championships (which only the top two MWC teams compete for), the Prairie Fire will have to win out against MWC South opponents Lake Forest College and Cornell College prior to playing defending MWC Champion Grinnell.
The winless Prairie Fire were the underdogs in this week’s contest against 3-0 Lake Forest, but they didn’t show it on the field. When the home team, then down a touchdown, picked up a huge third down stop on the Foresters with less than six minutes to go in the third, the tone of the Knosher Bowl changed immediately.
Knox had the ball and the momentum following their third down stop, but on just the second play of the ensuing drive, sophomore quarterback Luke Oosterbaan was picked off, priming the Foresters for a quick 4-yard touchdown drive.
Unfazed by the quick turn of events, Oosterbaan led the Prairie Fire on a 12-play, 80-yard drive capped off by a touchdown run from senior Derek Mortensen. Knox then recovered their onside kick to set up a potential game-tying drive, though it was shut down quickly by Lake Forest’s top-ranked defense.
The Knox defense was then able to make another huge stop, limiting the Foresters to a three-minute drive of 22 yards, setting up the Prairie Fire offense for a game- tying drive with a minute and 21 seconds to go.
It only took one play for Lake Forest’s Pat Clark to make his second huge pick of the game on Oosterbaan, effectively ending the game on the spot.
The Foresters forced three picks and four turnovers from the Prairie Fire, and while Knox’s defense forced two turnovers and held Lake Forest to its lowest run total of the year at 56 yards, it simply wasn’t enough to overcome an anemic offense that went 1-13 on third down conversions.
The Prairie Fire women’s volleyball team was on the hunt for a third win in a row and a 2-0 start to conference play last Saturday against Grinnell College. Knox and Grinnell were deadlocked at seven in the first set until the Pioneers snapped off seven straight points and ten of 15 to build a 22-12 lead. The two sides swapped points until Grinnell was a point from winning, at 24-15. Sophomore Casey Stachelski then served during a 5-0 run for the Prairie Fire, though Grinnell was ultimately able to pull out a 25-21 first set win. Despite a five-point deficit, the Prairie Fire were able to tie the second set at 16, 18 and 19, though the Pioneers maintained their consistency and were able to pull off another 25-21 victory. The third set was all Grinnell, who had up to a nine-point cushion over the course of the game. Grinnell took the third set 25-18 and the match 3-0.
According to the Knox College Athletics Department, Prince had a match-high 12 kills for the Prairie Fire while adding five digs. Stachelski led all players with 25 assists to go along with two service aces and 10 digs. Senior Amber Eisha recorded a team-high 13 digs and Pierro contributed 12 digs and three aces. In addition, junior Katie White put down seven kills, and her attack percentage was a season-high .545.
On Tuesday, Knox was handed its second defeat of the week by Aurora University, 25-17, 25-19, 25-8.
Aurora was able to end a four-game losing streak on a Prairie Fire squad that looked like a beaten team by the time they went out for the third set. The first two sets were competitive and included quite a few Knox leads, none of which the team could hold on to.
This past Saturday was a rough one for the Knox College Prairie Fire women’s soccer team (5-5-0, 0-3-0) as they were downed in a contest against the Cornell College Rams 11-0 (6-4-0, 3-1-0).
The Prairie Fire, coming into the match 5-4, were looking forward to the match, as the Rams were on a four-game losing streak in which they only scored twice.
“We did not play up to our full potential,” senior Kate Babington said. “Cornell is a good team, but not eleven goals better than us. We all just need to continue to work hard and be the team that I know we can be.”
The Rams scored their first three goals of the contest all within a minute and a half of one another; the first coming at 14:06, the second at 15:07 and a third at 15:36. The Rams pocketed the remainder of their goals all in the first half of the match. They were led by senior Emily Snider (who scored five goals) and Bethany Stevens (who put away three).
“At halftime our team really focused on fixing some of the tactical and technical issues occurring on the the field,” senior Raleigh DeRose said. “The second half, although not perfect, was as a whole much better than the first 45. I think it’s significant that we came together as a united team on the field in the second half. Perhaps that was the most critical part of Saturday’s game because at times like that, it would be easy to quit, but that effort along with mental endurance is what makes this group of girls so special.”
Knox’s senior goalie Rachel Koene recorded 12 saves on the day, while first year goalie Theresa Birzer recorded five.