With the Midwest Conference tournament upon us, head men’s soccer coach Matt Edwards sat down with TKS to go over the mindset of the team headed into Friday’s match against Illinois College.
The Knox Student: Friday you face Illinois College, which came back from a two-goal deficit in the first half when you played them two weeks ago. Knox rebounded in the second half and won 4-2. Do you believe that familiarity between the sides will factor into Friday’s matchup?
Matt Edwards: We talked about silly American sports and how you play each other like seven times. None of those games are ever the same. They just never are. IC had a player suspended who wasn’t able to play in the last game; he’s a big part of their program and we feel that that’s going to change the game a little bit and make the game look totally different than it did last time.
TKS: How do you prepare for the weight of postseason games?
ME: Everybody’s records are now 0-0, it’s win and play on, lose and you’re
done, so that’s the psychological factor, but once the ball rolls it’s still a soccer game.
We know how to win soccer games, we certainly know how to win soccer games at Jorge Prats field, so that’s kind of how we approach everything.
TKS: Knox suffered its first conference loss, falling 2-1 on Saturday at Lake Forest College. How do you bounce back from that heading into this weekend?
ME: It’s never good to lose a game, but going in undefeated may have given us more pressure than we really needed.
We didn’t perform well at Lake Forest and they performed fantastically well, so we just kind of take it on the chin and move on.
TKS: What lessons have you taken away from last year’s tournament run?
ME: It was such a different year. Last year that was the icing on the cake to be honest with you. Making the conference tournament was such a surprise to everybody, me included. So that making it was kind of like, wow what a great experience. We went there and we enjoyed it and what have you.
This year as the season wore on we realigned our goals pretty fast with our performances and we feel we’re where we belong, so it’s such a different feeling this year than last year.
TKS: So what would be the “icing on the cake” this year?
ME: We’d love to win Friday and we’d love to win Saturday. We’d love to win the whole thing. We feel like we have a pretty good shot.
TKS: Anything more to add, coach?
ME: I don’t condone missing class, — we take our academics very seriously on the soccer program — but if anybody doesn’t have class at 11 a.m. [on Friday], home field advantage is huge for us this weekend, and if there’s any way people can get out there and make some noise … I know they’ll help us get over the line as quickly as possible.