Johnson records 24 saves to hold the shutout and force the penalty shootout
BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
TIFFIN — Carrie Burken wasn’t ready to give an analysis of Fort Madison’s women’s soccer season.
The Bloodhounds coach wanted to keep playing.
“It doesn’t feel like the last game,” Burken said. “I feel like I’m going to see them in training tomorrow. Which is kind of a bummer that I’m not going to do.
Fort Madison’s 1-0 (4-2) loss to Clear Creek-Amana in a Class 2A regional semifinal was a bitter end to what had been the best season in program history.
The Bloodhounds went 12-4 and won a share of the Southeastern Conference title. But a goal in regulation time and two overtime periods eluded them against the Clippers (10-7), who advanced to the regional final on Thursday.
“We did everything we had to do today except score that one goal,” Burken said. “And sometimes that happens.
“I’m not at all disappointed with the way we played.”
Both teams had squandered scoring opportunities on the windy night, so it came down to penalties.
Mary Kate Bendlage gave Fort Madison a 1-0 lead with a goal that hit the top post and bounced past Clippers goaltender Alannah McKibben. Clear Creek-Amana tied the game on a goal by Eva Plathe.
Fort Madison’s Coree James was next, but McKibben stopped his shot. Emma Berg gave the Clippers a 2-1 lead with her goal, then McKibben stopped a Natalie Randolph shot. When Leah Evans sneaked a shot past Fort Madison goaltender Taylor Johnson, the lead was 3-1 and the pressure was on the Bloodhounds for an answer.
Camille Kruse scored against McKibben, keeping the Bloodhounds’ hopes alive, but Madeline Shade ended the game with a right-hand goal from Johnson, and the Clippers took to the field in celebration.
“Losing in PK is always tough,” Burken said. “There’s very little to control, because you’re just so close.
“(Johnson) was amazing in front of goal. She did such a good job throughout the game. So it was hard for her to feel like she had let the team down. She didn’t, in any way.
Johnson recorded 24 saves on the night, 10 in the first half and five in overtime to hold the shutout.
The Bloodhounds worked on shots on goal in Monday’s practice.
“I knew it was going to be tight,” Burken said.
The Bloodhounds are losing three senior starters – James, Anna Sobczak and Alana Simpson – but should return a solid core of players for next season.
“It’s been a really, really good season,” Burken said. “I felt like we had built momentum, and I’m really excited that we’re going to bring a lot of people back.”
The pain for the finish was still too real.
“I think that’s the most important part, that it’s just not like it’s over,” Burken said. “And for a group that has played so well this season and learned so much and grown so much, that’s hard to do.”