Randolph gets first-half hat trick as Fort Madison wins 7-1
BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – It’s good in the postseason not to be challenged.
Fort Madison had played two close matches against Keokuk this season, but the Bloodhounds made sure they would be in control of their Class 2A regional quarterfinal against the Chiefs on Friday night at the Baxter Sports Complex.
Fort Madison scored six first-half goals and cruised to a 7-1 win.
The Bloodhounds (12-3) advanced to Tuesday’s semifinal at Clear Creek Amana (9-7).
Natalie Randolph scored three of her four goals in the first half, Teagan Snaadt had two and Alana Simpson had one as the Bloodhounds made a convincing point to open the postseason.
“I think it helped a lot as far as feeling confident,” Fort Madison coach Carrie Burken said of the start. “It helped us relax and helped us play well, especially in the first half and the beginning of the second half.”
Fort Madison swept the season series against Keokuk, taking wins of 4-0 and 4-1 in the regular season.
This one, though, wasn’t close.
Randolph scored first for the Bloodhounds, then Snaadt and Simpson had goals for a 3-0 lead. Randolph then had back-to-back goals and Snaadt closed the half with her second goal.
Randolph, who leads the Bloodhounds with 19 goals this season, scored four minutes into the second half.
“Her finishing was really, really good today,” Burken said of Randolph. “I don’t know if I’ve seen that good of finishing all season. She brought it. Her ability to finish is her biggest strength. She’s gotten good at reading where to make runs on the field, and that’s really helpful for our offensive consistency.”
Burken began substituting at that point. Keokuk got its only goal with 33:06 to play when Breanna Maerz scored, and neither team would score the rest of the way.
“Once we felt like we had it pretty much locked down, we got a little mentally disengaged,” Burken said. “And we started throwing people in there, so it happens that the chemistry changes. It becomes a little more difficult to get passes connected.”
Now the Bloodhounds get Clear Creek Amana, which has lost three of its last four matches.
“They’re pretty similar to Davenport North (which beat the Bloodhounds 1-0 last week),” Burken said. “I would say they’re a little bit better than North, they’re a little quicker. But I think we match up well with them, and so we’ll see how it goes on Tuesday.”