Torres' blast ends overtime in Demons' favor


By Doug Brenneman, JOURNAL Sports Editor






Washington High School head boys soccer coach Sally Hart has a condition that may have put a little more stress on her when the match with Southeast Conference rival Fort Madison went into overtime Friday in Washington.

?Being seven months pregnant, I don?t want to know what my blood pressure was during the overtime,? Hart said.

Anthony Torres kept the blood pressure to a minimum for his coach, ending the game just 2 minutes, 2 seconds into overtime with a rocket of a shot from over 40 yards out. The golden goal gave the Demons a 3-2 win and a 3-1 record, 2-1 in the league.

?Before the overtime started, we were talking about how we need to take outside shots,? Torres said. ?The goalie was playing out, so we thought our best chance was to take those outside shots. I took a shot at the goal that went in. Coach always tells me to take those big shots because I have a leg. So I just went ahead and took that shot and thanked God that it went in.?

?Tony had a great shot,? Hart said. ?It was nice to see him seal the deal. He takes them long ones and is good at them. Goalie may have been surprised the ball was on him that fast.?

It was the first goal the Demons scored during play. After falling behind 2-0 by halftime, Washington netted two penalty shots in the second half to tie the game.

?For years, I have not liked a 2-0 lead at halftime,? Fort Madison coach Kevin Wellman said. ?The team ahead is living life great. The other team is talking about how if they fight hard, they can get back into this. A lot of times, that team that?s behind will play like their hair is on fire. I think that?s what happened.?

?I told them at halftime they had what they needed to come back,? Hart said. ?It was just up to them whether or not they could do it ? they could stay positive and work together to get the win or they could pick each other apart and the score would probably be the same as it was at halftime.?

The Bloodhounds took a 1-0 lead when Austin Sexton chased down a through ball and scored with 13:21 left in the opening half. With just 3 seconds remaining before halftime, A.J. Nolting was awarded a free kick from 30 yards out. He scored it for the 2-0 advantage.

?That is an outstanding way to going to half time,? Wellman said. ?Except then the halftime kind of took away our momentum. We had found some real momentum there at one point in the first half. It was a back-and-forth game but that?s how sports go. One team can get a rhythm but then if they don?t score then the other team can get that rhythm back.?

?We were a step slow in the first half and I think part of that was because it has been a week since our last game between the snow and all that fun stuff,? Hart said. ?At halftime, we talked about moving better to the ball, being quicker and knowing if we played harder, we could get back into it.?

The Demons came out much more inspired in the second half and with less than 7 minutes elapsed, Caleb Suchan was pushed down in the box and awarded a penalty shot, which he converted.

In the 20th minute, Torres had a shot from about 25 yards that just missed as it skimmed the crossbar.

?I thought the second half looked great,? Torres said. ?We pushed up and got that momentum. We played as a team.?

There was under 5 minutes remaining when Suchan was tripped in the box. Julio Hernandez converted the penalty shot to tie the match.

?Two penalty kicks, that is tough,? Wellman said. ?Those are usually automatic goals. I don?t know if I want to say that was unlucky because you make your own luck. Washington did a good job and did the right things to get down in the box. They made a good move and made us miss and commit a foul. That is making your own luck. If we hadn?t committed those fouls, would they?ve scored? Maybe, maybe not, you never know.?

?With the overtime, I felt we had momentum going our way,? Hart said. ?We had just scored two goals in the second half and we had not allowed them to score. The guys had the momentum and they had the energy from that. I think that?s what carried us through.?

It helped that Torres? blast carried all the way to the goal very quickly.

?It was a hard shot to the upper corner,? Hart said. ?It did not just float in there. It would?ve been a hard shot for anybody to block. Tony put it right where he needed to. It was great.?

The goalkeeper jumped and got both hands on the ball to deflect it but it hit the crossbar and bounced in.

The Demons host Mount Pleasant today.

That was Fort Madison?s second overtime game this year. It has a 2-4 record, 1-2 in the league with a 4-3 win over Keokuk and a 3-2 loss to Mount Pleasant.

?We lost, so maybe we are a little bit more experienced for it,? Wellman said. ?We have gotten better. We have spent a lot of time working on our weaknesses.?

?Fort Madison is a dangerous team because they have a great coach,? Hart said. ?I hope we start the match better the next time we play them.?