Hounds boys look to pick up where they left off

Fort Madison's Xander Wellman gets tied up in a match last spring. The senior joins six other returning seniors for the Bloodhounds this year. The Hounds open the boys' soccer season at Notre Dame-West Burlington Monday night. PCC File Photo

Hounds return seven seniors to the pitch including top three scorers

BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
PCC SPORTS

FORT MADISON – Offense isn’t a concern for Fort Madison’s boys soccer team.
The Bloodhounds return their three top goal scorers from a team that went 16-2 last season, with their only losses coming to eventual Class 1A state champion Notre Dame-West Burlington in the season opener and to Pella in the Class 2A substate final.
In between, the Bloodhounds won 16 consecutive matches, including going 10-0 to win the Southeast Conference title.
Fort Madison scored 117 goals last season, scoring 10 or more goals in five matches.
“Last year, those guys were pretty high-powered. And it wasn’t because of me,” coach Kevin Wellman said, smiling. “They already had it. They’re just naturally good goal scorers.”
Senior Mitchell Pothitakis had 33 goals last season. Jacob Pothitakis and Xander Wellman each had 29.
It was the first season of the combination of Fort Madison and Holy Trinity, and there were no issues with the transition.
“I don’t know if people could tell that they were from different schools,” Kevin Wellman said. “They got along really well, played really well together.”
For the most part, last season’s team is back again. Fort Madison has seven seniors among the 17 players on the varsity roster.
But while the Bloodhounds have their offense back, they have some work to do on defense.
“We graduated five players, and three were defenders,” Wellman said. “So we have to kind of figure out the defense again. I’ve got a lot of good, skilled, athletic soccer players, so I have a lot of choices back there. It’s just a matter of finding the right combination.”
Goalkeeper Reiburn Turnbull is back, but Wellman said he could use Turnbull as a defender as well, with sophomore Connor Gehling moving into the keeper’s spot.
“So we have some different options there,” Wellman said. “We have to decide what’s going to be the better look for the entire team.”
Fort Madison opens the season at Notre Dame-West Burlington, hoping to carry the momentum from last season.
“It had been a while since we got that close,” Wellman said of getting to within one match of the state tournament. “I think it goes along with all of the sports at Fort Madison right now — things are good, things are rolling along right now. Most of these kids are multi-sport athletes, and they’ve had success. We’re along for the ride with the other sports. It’s great to be a Bloodhound right now.”

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