October 08, 2008
Before the homecoming soccer game against Williams Baptist University, Coach Joe Eck was thinking that this game was a must win one. The team, coming off two straight losses to nationally ranked McKendree University and future GLVC opponent University of Southern Indiana really needed this game to stay relevant in the AMC conference race. During those two losses, the Prairie Stars were outshot by a combined 40-23. Coach Eck felt he had to correct this during the days leading up to the game against Williams Baptist.
Photo by David Clary
Jakub Piotrowski added two goals last Saturday to his season total, making 11 goals now to lead the Prairie Stars. See more photos in the Homecoming Soccer Game Photo Essay
“This week we have been working on shot opportunites and being able to connect on them.” He said.
The team worked long on controlling the ball and being able to connect on the shots that they take. Hours before the game, Eck learned that McKendree had lost to Hannibal-LaGrange 2-1 in a battle of the top two American Midwest Conference teams. The McKendree loss made the match up against Williams Baptist even more important with the upcoming Oct. 8 battle against Hannibal La-Grange which would determine first place in the AMC.
But Coach Eck didn’t want to think that far ahead. The team had to face the task of beating Williams Baptist who is currently in last place in the conference. Even though they are in last place, Coach Eck still felt that they had to, “come out and be ready to play. We can’t take them lightly because they are currently in last place.”
When game-time came around on Saturday, a larger than usual crowd settled into Kiwanis Stadium and was ready to watch the Prairie Stars shine under the lights. The first half had finally started and the UIS men’s soccer team was on their way. On this chilly homecoming night, many people would have a thought twice about not coming to support our Prairie Stars, but many people did.
The first half of the game was a very quiet one. Both teams fought very hard to score. There were very few close opportunities including a few close goals by Jakub Piotrowski. But both teams went into the locker rooms with goose eggs. Coach Eck knew that his team had plenty of opportunities to score during the first half, but they weren’t able to take advantage of them. The Prairie Stars outshot Williams Baptist 11-2 during the first half. They also had the advantage in corner kicks 4-1. With these types of advantages that they had during the first half, people watching the game felt that it was only a matter of minutes during the second half that the Prairie Stars would finally score.
The Prairie Stars didn’t disappoint during the second half. Coach Eck felt during this half the team came out and “put more pressure on the ball and made harder runs into the attack.” This was shown when again the Prairie Stars outshot Williams Baptist 16-5. It did not take them long to score. Scott Bringuet slid the ball past Baptist goalkeeper Lance Cummins from six yards out at 52:03 on a cross ball from Michial Filipiak. This gave UIS a 1-0 advantage.
After the first goal, the Prairie Stars controlled the ball throughout the game. Jakub Piotrowski became the star during the second half of the game. At 81:11, the Prairie Stars had a corner kick . Piotrowski headed the kick from six yards out into the back of the goal. Piotrowski wasn’t done after this first goal.
About two minutes later at the 83:22 received a through ball from Brian Doellman. He then split three William Baptist defenders and scored a goal again from about six yards out. The Prairie Stars then led the game 3-0. Once this third goal was scored, many fans in the crowds knew that this game was over. They were right.
The win gives UIS a 6-4 (2-1 AMC) record and drops Williams Baptist to 3-6 (0-4 AMC). The Prairie Stars outshot Williams Baptist 27-7 and also had an advantage in corner kicks 6-2. The win keeps them in the race for first place in the AMC. They face current AMC leader Hannibal La-Grange today. With a win, this will propel the Prairie Stars into first place.
See more photos in the Homecoming Soccer Photo Essay