BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – It’s about building chemistry.
Fort Madison’s 3-2 overtime loss to Mount Pleasant in Monday’s girls soccer match at the Baxter Sports Complex was the third consecutive loss for the Bloodhounds, but the second by one goal.
It’s why first-year head coach Carrie Burken told her players they were “this close” to putting things together.
“I’ll put it this way — we’ve had three losses this year, all in the (Southeast) conference,” Burken said. “And we had a chance to win every game.”
This one was another missed opportunity. The Bloodhounds matched the Panthers with two first-half goals, then neither team scored again until Anna Ostby’s goal with 1:36 left in the first overtime delivered the win for Mount Pleasant.
Fort Madison opened the season with an 8-2 win over Canton. The Bloodhounds lost, 6-2, to Washington in a match in which they twice had leads, then fell 2-1 to Fairfield.
“We are right there,” Burken said. “And Mount Pleasant is at the top of our conference, so obviously we can play with the best.”
Mount Pleasant’s Andrea Lopreato opened the scoring with a goal just 1:06 into the match. Fort Madison tied the match on Taylor Crabtree’s goal with 31:20 to play in the half, then Lopreato scored again less than a minute later. The Bloodhounds tied the game on Claire Pothitakis’ goal with 5:45 left.
The Bloodhounds had several scoring chances in the second half, but failed to convert.
“It’s taken a bit to get this team together,” said Burken, noting the mix of Fort Madison and Holy Trinity players. “Just building the chemistry, and fine-tuning some of those passes as we work together, it’s right there, it really is.
“I think we’re creating so many opportunities on offense, between this game and last game. And it comes with understanding each other’s movements, and it comes with understanding the tendencies of other players. Again, it’s that chemistry, understanding one another. And we’re getting there.”
Fort Madison plays host to Burlington on Thursday.
“It’s coming together,” Burken said. “The good thing is, there’s time to get better.”