Fort Madison falls 6-0 to No. 6 North Scott in Class 2A regional semis
BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
ELDRIDGE — No coach likes to see their team’s season end.
Fort Madison’s 6-0 loss to No. 6 North Scott in Wednesday’s Class 2A girls soccer regional semifinal ended the Bloodhounds’ season, but Carrie Burken, in her first season as head coach, hated to see the finish because she liked how her team was playing in the closing weeks.
“It’s kind of frustrating, because I felt like we were just kind of getting everything together,” Burken said. “The beginning of the season was very rough learning how to play together. We really didn’t get going until the second half of the season. I was just really enjoying it right now, because it felt like things were clicking.”
Fort Madison finished 8-7 after started the season 1-4 with a stretch that included three consecutive losses by one goal. What Burken liked was the frustration never set in with her team, and it showed in a seven-match stretch in which the Bloodhounds won six times.
Last Friday’s 3-2 overtime win over Burlington was the first postseason victory in the program’s history, but the Lancers (12-5), who advanced to Friday’s regional final against Iowa City Liberty, ended any momentum the Bloodhounds had from that win.
“We knew that they were a good team,” Burken said. “So the goal coming in was try to keep things as close as possible and then if we have an opportunity to score, try to take it. Everyone knew this was going to be a tough game for us. Any experience that we got out of this, it would be what we wanted against a team like this. To have that experience against a really good team is really good for us at this stage.”
North Scott’s offense put constant pressure on the Bloodhounds in the first half. The Lancers, though, didn’t get a goal until 9 1/2 minutes into the match, when Kendall Knisley scored from the left side.
Hattie Hagedorn scored with 15:57 to go in the half, then Knisley added two more goals to give the Lancers a 4-0 halftime lead.
Reese Hilsenbeck and Delaney Fitzgibbon scored for North Scott in the second half.
The Bloodhounds didn’t get any offense going in the second half. Alana Simpson missed a scoring chance 17 1/2 minutes into the second half, then Claire Pothitakis appeared to have an open path to the goal but was knocked down before getting a shot away with 10 1/2 minutes left.
Burken said the program took big steps this season, especially with the regional quarterfinal win over Burlington.
“It takes away any sort of mental block that we can’t win any (postseason) game,” she said. “So it’s good to have that experience. Now we know what it’s like to win that. Just mentally, that’s a huge weight lifted for the girls and myself.
“I think this program has gained a lot of momentum in the last four or five years. So I wanted to keep that going.
We’re just too good of a team not to have success. So I think having that winning record was important to keep that momentum going into next season.”