BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – The ball movement was crisp, almost perfect.
Fort Madison’s 10-0 win over Mount Pleasant in Thursday’s boys soccer match at the Baxter Sports Complex was a display of trust, coach Kevin Wellman said.
“When anybody was playing the ball to a teammate, you could tell that as soon as it left their foot, you could tell by their body language that they had complete faith that whoever they were passing the ball to was going to receive it properly, make a good move, and make the right play afterwards,” Wellman said. “It was very evident, and very good to see out of young players like this.”
The Bloodhounds, ranked 12th in Class 2A in the Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association poll, won their 11th consecutive match, clinching the outright Southeast Conference title, the program’s first conference crown since 2016. Fort Madison (11-1 overall, 9-0 conference) can wrap up an undefeated conference season with a win over Burlington on Tuesday.
“Going from not having anything in conference for a couple of years, and then being undefeated, would be fantastic,” Wellman said. “It shows that these guys are doing the right things in practice, they’re doing the right things off the field — you get your rest, you ice up what might be a little bit hurt. I think these guys are smart individuals — they’re smart soccer players, they’re smart kids, knowing to take care of the little things that they can take care of to be the best that they can be.”
It took the Bloodhounds a little more than 12 minutes to get their first goal, but they were relentless on offense. Mount Pleasant’s game plan of staying back to slow Fort Madison did little damage, and it kept the Panthers from mounting any sort of offense. They never got a shot against goalkeeper Tate Settles.
“It was nice for Tate to get that shutout without touching the ball,” Wellman said, smiling. “I think we did pass it back to him a couple of times.”
Mitchell Pothitakis had four goals. His last one, with 17:14 to play, ended the match. Pothitakis also was credited with five assists.
Xander Wellman had three goals and and three assists. Phillip Goldie, Jacob Pothitakis and Nathen Bowen each had a goal.
Kevin Wellman said he liked where his team is at heading into the final days of the regular season.
“I do think we can be better,” he said. “But it’s pretty good.”