Bloodhound junior’s status unknown after going down in second half
BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – The joy was fleeting.
Fort Madison’s Xander Wellman scored his third goal of the night 5 1/2 minutes into the second half of Monday’s match against Fairfield.
Five minutes later, Wellman was down on the Baxter Soccer Complex grass, holding his right knee.
The injury to Wellman, one of the team’s top offensive players, clouded the Bloodhounds’ 5-0 victory.
Fort Madison (7-3 overall, 6-0 Southeast Conference) won its fifth consecutive match. The Bloodhounds have outscored their opponents 39-0 in the streak, and the win helped them maintain their one-game margin over Washington heading into Thursday’s match in Washington between the two teams.
“It wasn’t a good game,” said Fort Madison coach Kevin Wellman, Xander’s father. “I mean, it was a good game, but it wasn’t a good game.”
Xander Wellman went down with 29:18 to play in the match, forcing a stoppage of play. Kevin Wellman immediately raced to his son.
“He went down on his own accord,” Kevin Wellman said. “Nobody touched him or anything like that. He just planted wrong.
“When I got out there, and he was laying on the ground, the first thing he told me was, ‘Sorry, Dad.’ Which…”
He couldn’t finish the sentence.
Xander Wellman was carried to the Fort Madison bench, and when he sat down he buried his face in his hands.
“He heard a pop, so…,” Kevin Wellman said. “I don’t know what to tell you. We’ll know more later.”
Xander Wellman, who is second on the Bloodhounds with 14 goals, scored the first two goals of this match in a 25-second span late in the first half. Fort Madison had been struggling on offense before the two goals with 7:30 and 7:05 to play in the half broke things open.
Fort Madison is already playing without the services of junior Jacob Pothitakis, who was lost presumably for the season with a leg injury suffered during the Hounds Invitational earlier this month. Pothitakis was leading the team in goals scored when he went down.
“It was stagnant at the beginning,” Kevin Wellman said. “It took us a little while to get going. Fairfield did a fantastic job of clogging up the middle, blocking shots, playing good defense, really. We could have gotten the ball wider, and faster. It took us a little while to compensate for that and get things going.
“When they’re defending like that, but they can’t get the ball out, it’s just a matter of time. A lot of times when that first one hits, you put your head down a little bit as a player. And then you almost make one mistake into two mistakes.”
Mitchell Pothitakis scored with 54 seconds left, his 16th goal of the season, to give Fort Madison a 3-0 lead. Will Gager’s goal with 27:34 left in the game closed the scoring.