BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Holy Trinity Crusaders opened the season with a win on a long day of soccer Saturday at the Baxter Sports Complex, but finished the day 1-2 for fourth place at the Fort Madison Soccer Invitational.
The Fort Madison Bloodhounds lost their first match, but battled back through the consolation bracket for a 6th-place finish overall.
The Crusaders knocked off Danville 4-2 in its opening match of the day behind three goals from senior Adam Rauenbuehler.
Holy Trinity fell behind early 0-1 when the Bears’ Tristan Miller slid a ball passed the fingers of HTC keeper Blake Crabtree, who dove to the right side of the north goal on field 3.
But the Crusaders Audrae Vincent returned the favor about three minutes later with a shot of his own to the right side of goal to tie it up at 1-1.
Danville would take the lead again off a penalty kick to go up 1-2 before Rauenbuehler pulled off the hat trick, scoring three unanswered two of which came within two minutes of each other.
Head Coach Ryan Culbertson said this was the first week he’s been able to get all 13 players together.
“We’ve had a bit of trouble getting all the players together on the field at the same time for practice. I’d have to drill with six here or seven there, but it’s been hard to get everyone together. So all in all I think we think we played pretty well today,” he said.
Facing Mt. Pleasant in the match for 3rd place, the Crusaders led through most of the game, but the Panther’s put up two goals, one off a penalty kick that slid to the left of the “wall” and past a diving Crabtree. HTC got the ball on the Mt. Pleasant side of the pitch down 2-3 with two minutes left. The Panthers keeper came out and tangled up Tyler Snaadt while help arrived to snuff out the drive and preserve the win.
The Crusaders dropped their second round game to Burlington Notre Dame.
For the Bloodhounds, an opening round loss to Mt. Pleasant 1-0 pushed them into the consolation bracket where they then knocked off Central Lee 2-1 to face Danville in the 5th place match.
The Bears would get the best of the Hounds 4-2, despite a comeback in the second 30-minute period where FM outscored Danville 2-1, but the Hounds spotted the Bears an early 3-0 lead.
“Danville put us down 3-0 and we answered with 1 and they came back with one, but we scored again to make it a 4-2 game,” Head Coach Kevin Wellman said. “We should’ve been better in that game, but maybe there was a little fatigue. Granted Danville was going through the same thing, but I would’ve like to have seen a better result in that game.”
He said the Central Lee game was probably the best teamwork he’s seen in the early season, which up to Saturday had just been two scrimmages.
” We ended up having some really neat combination play through the midfield in that game,” Wellman said. “We had a hard time converting and scoring goals in that game. We did get two, but would have been nice to get more there.”
“The boys played well. I was not displeased with what we did, we just need to do a better job of converting the opportunities we get.”
Davenport North ended up winning the tournament after knocking off Burlington Notre Dame.
Both the Crusaders and the Hounds are in action Monday night with Holy Trinity traveling to Keokuk, while Fort Madison hosts Fairfield at the Baxter Sports Complex.