Hounds miss state berth in heartbreaker shootout

Fort Madison's Jacob Pothitakis fires a shot at the goal between the Dutch's Josh Warner (8) and Geordie Laidlaw (6) in the second half of Wednesday's substate final in Pella. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Pella’s Mason Holland smothers three Bloodhound shots in PK session


PELLA — Fort Madison was an equal match for its opponent for 100 minutes, even when the Bloodhounds were one man short for the final 21 minutes.
But the final three shots of the season were smothered by a goalkeeper who made the right move every time.
The 1-0 (3-0) loss to fourth-ranked Pella in Wednesday’s Class 2A substate final was proof that the ninth-ranked Bloodhounds belonged among the state’s best.
It was something Fort Madison coach Kevin Wellman said was pointed out to him by Pella coach Mark Solomon during the post-game handshake.

Fort Madison junior Xander Wellman lurks near the goal in the first period of Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Pella in the Class 2A substate finals in Pella. Wellman would get two yellow cards and ejected from the game with 1:05 left in regulation. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

“He kind of raised an eyebrow and said, ‘Wow. You guys are the real deal,’” Wellman said. 
Fort Madison (16-2) lost its first match of the season and its last match — both in overtime — and in between those bookends the Bloodhounds built a culture that sustained them on this night.
They played one man short after Xander Wellman was sent off after receiving his second yellow card with 1:05 left in the second half. And yet they scrambled to fight off the Dutch (15-4) in the two overtime periods.
“And we had some chances (to score), too,” Kevin Wellman said. “They’re a good group of kids who know how to dig down deep and put it out there.”
What it did was give the Bloodhounds the chance to win in the shootout period, but they couldn’t get the ball past Pella senior goalkeeper Mason Holland.
Holland stopped shots from Mitchell Pothitakis, Jacob Pothitakis and Leif Boeding.

Mitchell Pothitakis (3) gets tangled up with a couple Dutch in the second half Wednesday night. Fort Madison and Pella battled to a 0-0 ties through two overtime sessions and had the match settled in a penalty kick shootout that Pella won 3-0, for the 1-0 win and a right to move on to the state tournament next week. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Pella’s Austin Bone scored past Fort Madison goalkeeper Reiburn Turnbull for the first goal. Logan Solomon scored the second goal, then Will Rasmussen’s goal sent the Dutch to next week’s state tournament as the dejected Bloodhounds looked on.
Kevin Wellman thought back to the first loss of the season, when the Bloodhounds fell 3-2 to a Notre Dame team that is now ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 1A and has qualified for the state tournament. Fort Madison was behind 2-0 in the match, rallied to tie, and then lost on a golden goal in overtime.
“The way we responded…” Wellman said.
He then thought back to a 2-1 win over Fairfield on April 15, when the Bloodhounds were short-handed and held on for the victory.
“The way we responded…” Wellman said.
“These guys were really good at … being in the now,” he continued. “What just happened a minute ago, or even three seconds ago, doesn’t matter anymore. It’s what’s ahead.”
It’s why Wellman didn’t want to think much about what happened in those 100 minutes. He was already thinking about next season — Fort Madison loses five seniors, but has the bulk of its offense returning.
“If we would have had another game after this — say, this is a tournament where we lose in PKs and have to play again — we would be laser-focused and ready to play the next game,” Wellman said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have that next game.”
It’s now about next season, with a statement left behind.
“Hopefully,” Wellman said, “next year we’ll be the real deal.”

Xander Wellman hugs FM goalie Reiburn Turnbull after Pella scored on its first three shots in the shootout session following two overtimes with the score tied at 0 Wednesday night. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC
The third and final goal off a Pella striker in the overtime shootout sales past a diving Reiburn Turnbull to give the No. 4 Dutch a 1-0 win over Fort Madison in the Class 2A substate 5 final in Pella Wednesday. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

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