OTTUMWA — It was a good start to a Monday night on the pitch for the Ottumwa boys soccer squad. The finish wasn’t too bad either.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the middle was all Indianola. In the very end, that proved to be enough for the visiting Indians.
Tanner Richards scored twice, including a tiebreaking goal 25 seconds into the second half. The second goal for the Indianola captain proved to be the difference as a late charge and goal from Ottumwa fell short in a 3-2 loss at Eric Wertheim Field.
“For most of the night, the boys played hard,” Ottumwa boys head soccer coach Jeff Ebling said. “We were a little bit short-benched, but the guys that played did a really nice job.
“We moved the ball real well, but when you play 80 minutes non-stop with only one sub, it’s going to be hard. We can take a lot away from this result. We can come back to practice and get back to it.”
Facing a team that came in having lost their last nine matches, the Bulldogs came out aggressively. That play paid off just over 10 minutes in, as Stefan Kotulla found Casper Jensen, who scored to put the Bulldogs on top for the first and only time on the night.
The two teams waged a very even back-and-forth battle that went to the half just as even as Matt Wall scored for Indianola in the 28th minute of the match.
After starting strong in the first half, a defensive breakdown cost the Bulldogs very early in the second half. On the first attack out of halftime, Ottumwa lost Tanner Richards who dribbled in and fired home a go-ahead goal.
“You should never allow a goal 25 seconds into a half,” Ebling said. “We had a little mental lapse on our weak side. We’ve tried to shore that stuff up, but the guys still have to execute it on the field.”
The Bulldogs kept attacking and narrowly missed tying the game, as a Kotulla attack close to the goal result in a chip shot off the post. On a counter-attack, Indianola (3-12) drew a handball while pressure Ottumwa goalie Kevin Gonzalez.
The resulting free kick led to a rebound goal for Richards in the 61st minute. Suddenly, the Bulldogs found themselves in a two-goal hole.
Gonzalez faced constant pressure throughout the night, but hung in by making 12 saves. Late in the match, Gonzalez took a knee to the body from teammate Angelo Kelly as both slid to stop an Indianola attack.
“He did the best he could,” Ebling said. “He even took a knee late and got right back up and kept playing.”
The Bulldogs’ refused to fall easily, continuing late-game attacks that finally paid off as Ceasar Botello crossing pass found Denny Guido for a goal with just 2:08 left in regulation. Ottumwa had one last attack to tie, but an offsides in the final minute killed the last chance for the Bulldogs to force overtime.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys that haven’t played a lot before this season,” Ebling said. “We’re still learning, we’ve made improvements, but we’ve just got to get better.”
The Bulldogs (4-10, 2-1) will look to bounce back in conference action on Thursday. Ottumwa heads to Des Moines Hoover for a tough CIML Metro encounter.
“This is always a big game for us,” Ebling said. “Hoover and Ottumwa has become a nice soccer rivalry for us. It’s a tough place to play up there. Hopefully, we can get that one.”
Indianola 3, Ottumwa 2
Indianola 1 2 — 3
Ottumwa 1 1 — 2
Ottumwa — Casper Jensen goal (Stefan Kotulla assist), 10:19.
Indianola — Matt Wall goal (Carlos Palacios assist), 27:46.
Indianola — Tanner Richards goal, 40:25.
Indianola — Richards goal, 60:57.
Ottumwa — Denny Guido goal (Ceasar Botello assist), 77:52.
Indianola: Total Shots — 15. Total Saves — 13. Total Fouls — 6.
Ottumwa: Total Shots — 15 (Jensen 4, Kotulla 4, Angelo Kelly 3, Guillermo Trejo 2, Jose Leon 2). Total Saves — 12 (Kevin Gonzalez 12). Total Fouls — 12.