BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
BURLINGTON — It didn’t take long for Fort Madison’s girls soccer team to turn what looked like a loss into history.
Brandy Walker’s golden goal in overtime gave the Bloodhounds a 3-2 win over Burlington High School in Friday’s Class 2A Region 8 quarterfinal at Bracewell Stadium.
It was the first postseason win for the Bloodhounds in the seven-season history of the program. Fort Madison (8-6) will play at sixth-ranked North Scott (11-5) in Wednesday’s semifinal.
“It means everything,” Walker said. “It’s a big deal.”
Big deal, indeed.
Fort Madison trailed 2-1 until Claire Pothitakis’ penalty kick with 57 seconds left in the second half tied the game.
That gave new life to the Bloodhounds.
“It was, ‘Give everything you have,’ and they certainly did that,” Fort Madison coach Carrie Burken said. “In overtime, it was the same message. You could see they responded.”
Walker’s game winner came after her shot bounced off the hands of Burlington goalkeeper Jenna Hentzel. Walker raced to the loose ball and punched in the winning goal.
“I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I have to get this. I have to get this, or it’s over,’” Walker said. “It was that, or nothing.”
Burlington (6-10) took a 2-1 lead early in the second half after Josephine Blazic’s shot escaped the dive from Fort Madison goalkeeper Kailyn Guzman.
The Bloodhounds couldn’t get anything going offensively until late in the half. The final charge gave Fort Madison a chance when Pothitakis was fouled near the goal. Her first penalty kick was good, but was waved off. The second one was just as perfect.
Pothitakis gave Fort Madison a 1-0 lead at the 6:53 mark of the first half with a shot into the right side of the next. Burlington tied it at 8:02 on Myah Rehman’s goal.
Neither team had much of an offensive threat the rest of the half.
“We just weren’t connecting on passes,” Burken said. “We didn’t have patience — we were just kicking the ball around.”
Burken was happy with how her team responded in the closing minutes.
“I think this season has been hard for so many reasons,” she said. “I think this means they still want it, and they’re fighting for it. They just wanted to come out and win, and compete.
“It means a lot for this program. It shows where we’ve come from.”