Congratulations to the men’s soccer team for their comeback victory today against Illinois College, another compelling win in a historic season. More importantly perhaps, thank you. For years the student body has dwelled in an athletic doldrum with no end in sight, but no longer.
With a perfect home season now in the books, it is time to recognize the team we have before us. They are the real life rivals to college football on Saturday mornings. Humble heroes you can sit next to in the Caf.
Following this team for the better part of the year as a fan and journalist they have been nothing if not admirable.
They set out to improve upon their record from last year while not losing any games at home: check. The team is at the top of the conference and has secured the top seed, bringing the Midwest Conference tournament to Jorge Prats field. This Prairie Fire has now streaked to 13 straight wins.
Are goals your fancy? Forward junior Nathaniel Logie leads the Midwestern Conference in total goals, game winning goals and goals per game. He has secured MWC offensive player of the week twice this year. However, when asked about what he thinks about his individual accomplishments he said that they were just “extra” and that the team’s goal of making noise in the conference tournament trumped all. They play a beautiful game, midfielder junior Abdulsalam Oganla is second in conference in assists.
Is defence what you desire? Goalkeeper senior Sean Dockrell leads the MWC in clean sheets. The tandem of his saves and the back line’s play have given opposing teams fits all year.
Passion your poison? This team leads the conference in yellow cards and you will often hear head coach Matt Edwards standing up for his team from the sideline.
Electric enough to bring fans out in the middle of a freezing Wednesday, this team isn’t something to see; it is the show on campus to watch. Two weekends ago Knox knocked off conference foes back to back in a single weekend. With a two goal lead the team gave up two goals late in the first half on Wednesday, only to come back with two more of their own in the second half.
This team has won in commanding fashion and thrilling overtime strikes but their stories go well beyond the scoreboard.
There is the story of the team’s longest tenured player senior Jacob Polay, who was a part of a team that won a single game his first year. Polay has endured position shifts and coaching changes to now lead the team from the back line.
On Saturday Dockrell played in front of his parents for the first time in four years, since he moved to the United States. His parents saw him make several acrobatic saves on the way to a 1-0 overtime win against St. Norbert.
There are the intense stories of team bonding. How they eat together, practice together and do little else during the season. After his game-winning goal Saturday midfielder freshman Shu Kitamura likened the team to a family.
The international team is not only perfect in its representation of the diversity of Knox, but also an exemplary demonstration of commitment to a goal.
They have held up their part of the bargain, Knox, it is time for us to show up with the support they deserve on November 7 and 8 when the conference tournament comes to our home field.