BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – Kevin Wellman knows the emotional highs and lows of the golden goal.
His Fort Madison High School boys soccer team discovered the low in the season opener against Notre Dame at the Baxter Sports Complex.
Carson Wagner’s goal with 3:38 left in the first overtime period lifted Notre Dame to a 3-2 win over the Bloodhounds on Monday night.
The Bloodhounds fought back from an early 2-0 deficit, tying the game late in the first half, then the two sides battled to a scoreless second half.
“I told them the golden goal rule is a very unique situation in sports,” Wellman said. “Both teams’ emotions are rising, the adrenaline is rising, and all of the sudden a shot goes in and one team’s excitement goes through the roof and the other team is on the ground, sitting down because the floor gets yanked out from under them.”
Still, Wellman knew his team had done some good things, especially after the opening minutes of the match.
Wagner’s goal with 28:35 left in the first half was followed by a penalty kick by Gabe Zurita with 24:59 to go to put the Nikes up 2-0.
But the Bloodhounds had answers. Mitchell Pothitakis’ goal with 23:37 left cut the lead to 2-1, then Xander Wellman’s header with 1:05 to play tied the game.
“We didn’t necessarily put our heads down,” Wellman said. “We could have easily thought that we couldn’t dig out of this hole, but we were able to pop a couple in.”
Wagner was able to sneak the winning goal past backup goalkeeper Reiburn Turnbull, who changed positions after starting goalkeeper Tate Settles was injured after a collision with a Notre Dame player late in the second half.
“It was certainly not malicious,” Wellman said. “He tried to jump over my keeper, and my keeper moved the same direction.
“They had a guy (Wagner) up there (in overtime) and he poked it in. That’s how it goes.”
Settles had eight saves before he went out.
“It was a back-and-forth game,” Wellman said. “We challenged some of the time. There were times we were out of position and didn’t challenge right away. But we fairly consistently were able to apply pressure most of the time to force them to play backward.
“After we get over that shock (of the loss), I think we’ll be happy. We got to play, and we got to play well.”