Hounds earn second straight Southeast title

Fort Madison's Leif Boeding fires a shot past the Burlington keeper in the first half to give Fort Madison its first goal of the night in a 2-1 win over the Grayhounds. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Goldie, Boeding score as Fort Madison sweeps Burlington in conference play

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

BURLINGTON – Fort Madison’s boys soccer coach Kevin Wellman yelled across Bracewell Stadium’s soccer pitch Thursday evening to see if senior Phillip Goldie had a bloody nose, but it had nothing to do with a collision.

The midfielder had just knocked a header wide right of the goal that would have given the Bloodhounds a 3-1 lead over Burlington late in the second half in Burlington.

In spite of the miss, the Hounds won 2-1 and snagged a Southeast Conference championship for the second straight year.

But Goldie converted a header about eight minutes prior to that shot off a corner kick from senior Mitchell Pothitakis that broke a 1-1 tie. The Hounds were able to fend off some pressure from the Grayhounds in the final minutes to secure the title.

GOLDIE ON! Fort Madison senior Philip Goldie goes high for a corner kick from Mitchell Pothitakis and scores on the header over Burlington’s Cayden Lowary (99) in the second half of the Bloodhounds 2-1 win. The goal ended up being the game-winner and helped Fort Madison clinch the Southeast Conference title for the second straight year. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Wellman said the title isn’t the end of the team’s goals for the year.

“That’s not our goal. We want to go 10-0 in the conference and we’ll know if that happens on Monday,” Wellman said.

The Hounds take on Mt. Pleasant Monday to wrap up the conference season. They take on Class 3A No. 7 Iowa City Liberty Saturday at the Baxter Sports Complex.

Leif Boeding opened the scoring with 19:39 left in the first quarter. The ball came in from the right side on a throw in from Pothitakis that bounced through the scrum where Boeding was waiting on the other side. The ball got down to the Bracewell north end turf. Boeding fought it away from a couple Grayhound defenders and punched it past sophomore Cayden Lowary to the right for a 1-0 Fort Madison lead.

Burlington tied things up when forward Ivan Ortiz got a break away to the right side of Fort Madison keeper Reiburn Turnbull. Turnbull slid to the right to cut off the inside shot, but Ortiz shot the ball to the left corner passed a diving Turnbull to tie things up with 5:30 left in the first.

The Grayhounds had a shot to go up by a goal with a free kick at the 3:37 mark, but the shot went a bit high and Turnbull got a couple fingers on it to help it over the top of the goal.

Fort Madison then pushed the pace a bit out of the break and had a couple shots on goal by Henry Graham and Austin Miller. Ortiz blocked Graham’s shot and Miller’s shot went left all within the first two minutes.

Fort Madison goalie Reiburn Turnbull dives to his right to try and stop a shot from Burlington in the first half of Thursday’s match. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

But four minutes into the half, Pothitakis sent a corner kick high across the front of the goal and Goldie came flying in and headed the ball to the right past Lowary for what would end up being the game-winning goal.

Wellman said that’s a play they put in recently to take advange of the athleticism of Goldie and fellow midfielder Dayton Davis.

“We we’re playing short a lot on the corner kicks and trying to let Mitchell dribble in a bit, but we knew Phillip was a fantastic athlete,” Wellman said. “He can get himself under the ball and get his head on it better than we thought. We tried it couple times a week ago and it was right there.

“Davis is right behind him and he can get up there as well, so it’s nice to have those kinds of weapons.”

One of the other weapons is senior forward Pothitakis who was a 2021 All-State Selection. Pothitakis is playing without juniors Xander Wellman and Jacob Pothitakis in his peripherals and said things are a bit different now, but the goal is still the same.

“I feel a little bit of added pressure, but we’ve got some guys that fill the spots amazingly. (Will) Gager and me play unbelievable together. We just can connect well and he fills that spot great,” Pothitakis said.

Pothitakis got a yellow card in the second half after going for a ball on a break away. He said he usually doesn’t get nervous with the yellow, but this time he did because he didn’t really know what it was for.

Two yellows equals a red and a red card mandates the player sit out the next game. Wellman took Pothitakis out for about five minutes of clock time and then the senior came back in to put help put the match away.

He said the Hounds just need to keep playing one game at a time.

“Just hard work is what we need. Just focus on the next game.”

Wellman said the Hounds aren’t reacting to the bad things happening even though they’ve been a bit snake-bitten all year.

The Hounds were without Xander Wellman for the first six games of the year due to getting a second red card last season in a substate loss to Pella. Turnbull got a red card out of the gate in this year’s regular season opener with Class 1A defending state champion West Burlington-Notre Dame, which the Hounds dropped 4-0.

Five days later the Bloodhounds lost junior forward Jacob Pothitakis for the year to a leg injury. Two weeks later the Hounds lost Wellman, a 2021 All-State Honorable mention recipient, for the season with an ACL tear.

“We don’t need to react to something bad happening or anything that could go wrong, we just need to respond with the right response,” Kevin Wellman said.

“It’s business to these guys. Heads went down for a second – these are teenage boys still – but it’s business. Heads went down and then back up again and they said this is business and we’re gonna respond.”

Turnbull had four saves on the night.

The junior varsity squad won 1-0 on a penalty kick by Oliver Santiago in the second half.

Fort Madison 10-3 (9-0 in the Southeast) has won eight straight and allowed just four goals over the stretch. They have four games left including the Lightning on Saturday, followed at Mt. Pleasant on Monday, at Newton next Saturday and wrapping up with Mediapolis at home on Tuesday, May 16.

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