OTTUMWA — By their records entering Monday night’s matchup, there wasn’t much separating the Waukee and Ottumwa boys soccer teams.
In fact, it took over two hours for the two 5-2 squads to find a difference.
The Bulldogs and Warriors put on a show for 100 minutes Monday at Eric Wertheim Field, giving fans everything but a winner. A pair of goals and a slew of near misses left players, coaches and fans catching their breaths after the second overtime period was over.
In the end, deciding a winner came down to a 50-50 game of chance in a five-player shootout. The Warriors pulled out the win, forcing three Bulldog misses and scoring on three of their first four shots to clinch a 3-2 shootout win.
It was a tough way to end a thrilling night on the pitch at Walsh Soccer Complex.
“Team-wise, everyone did what we needed to do. We just got unlucky in the penalty kicks,” Bulldogs head boys soccer coach Aaron Rose said. “It happens. It’s a game of luck when you get into the shootout and we just weren’t on the winning side this time.“
It was a tough end to the night for Bulldog goalie Kevin Gonzalez, who got one of the biggest hugs from his teammates after the second overtime session had ended. Gonzalez faced 18 shots by Waukee and made 15 saves ranging from the routine to several spectacular stops in the second half.
“I only had one thing on my mind and that was to get a win for the team,” Gonzalez said. “That’s always what I think of every time I step on that field and step in that goal.”
The final result left Waukee head coach Carlos Acebey with mixed feelings. Acebey was happy to see his team dig down to gain a hard-fought win, but hated the style the game had to end in.
“It’s tough for both teams. Both deserved better then having it be won on penalty kicks,” Acebey said. “We did what we had to do, but we didn’t get the opportunities we needed to put the ball in the back of the net more then once before the shootout.”
Both teams can look back on Monday night with vivid memories of a potential winning goal that wasn’t. The Warriors had two more shots in the opening half and seemed to have the better chances in the opening half before finally breaking through with a Tom Bean goal off a Chandler Conlon corner kick just over three minutes into the second half.
Waukee missed several chances to score their second goal. Gonzalez made 14 saves in the second half and overtimes, including a diving stop that was followed immediately by on off-balance stop that the Bulldog goalie had to spin and regain control before nearly losing it in the net.
“Kevin came up with some big, big saves for us,” Rose said.
Ottumwa didn’t stay behind for long, evening the game just under six minutes after falling behind as Cesar Botello nailed an amazing diagonal shot from a tough angle to beat Waukee netminder Tucker Melvin. Botello, who led Ottumwa with four shots, got a great chance to win the game in the opening minutes of overtime but just missed wide on a shot that got past Melvin and would have ended things on a golden goal.
“We came so close. We had so many chances and just couldn’t get that one more ball in the back of the net,” Rose said.
Botello would score Ottumwa’s last goal in the shootout, tying things at 2-2 after Melvin had stopped two of the Bulldogs first three shooters. Gonzalez helped the Bulldogs comeback in the shootout by stopping Conlon moments earlier.
“You have a lot of pressure on you knowing you’ve got a 50-50 shot of making the stop,” Gonzalez said of the shootout. “The team trusted me to go out there to do what I had to do. I know they won’t be mad at me in that position. I did what I could to give a chance to win.”
Sophomore Isaac Bruns put Waukee back up a goal after Botello’s shootout strike. Needing to score to keep the shootout alive to Waukee’s final shooter, Tyler Brechon beat Melvin but came up just wide of the net as Waukee (6-2) celebrated the road victory.
“This gives us a lot of confidence to make this trip here, play this long and get this win,” Acebey said.
Rose admits that shaking off a tough loss is never easy for any player. The former Bulldog star and first-year head coach does believe Ottumwa (5-3) can take plenty of positive aspects out of their first home defeat heading into Thursday’s CIML Metro Conference opener at Des Moines North.
“Coming from a loss like this, it can really bring a player down. Our senior leaders really do a great job keeping our heads up,” Rose said. “They know they played an excellent game. We didn’t have any letdowns. We played hard from the first minute to the last.”
“The scoreboard doesn’t show the effort we put into this game.”
WAUKEE 1, OTTUMWA 1
(Waukee wins shootout, 3-2)
Waukee 0 1 0 0 — 1 (3)
Ottumwa 0 1 0 0 — 1 (2)
Waukee — Tom Bean goal (Chandler Conlon assist), 43:27.
Ottumwa — Cesar Botello goal (Osvaldo Trejo assist), 49:15.
Ottumwa — Denny Guido miss.
Waukee — Bean goal.
Ottumwa — Charlie Altfillisch goal.
Waukee — Jac Carlson goal.
Ottumwa — Danton Irelan miss.
Waukee — Conlon miss.
Ottumwa — Botello goal.
Waukee — Isaac Bruns goal.
Ottumwa — Tyler Brechon miss.
Waukee: Total Shots — 18 (Bruns 5, Jon Choda 5, Artie Meyers 5). Total Saves — 7 (Tucker Melvin 7). Total Fouls — 7 (Yellow cards - Bean and Conlon).
Ottumwa: Total Shots — 9 (Botello 4). Total Saves — 15 (Gonzales 15). Total Fouls — 5.