Bobcats score dramatic victory over Southeast Polk

Five Marshalltown Bobcat seniors raised their hands when coach Allie Osmundson asked her squad who wanted to take a penalty kick before Monday’s shootout with Southeast Polk.

The fact that it was Senior Night at Leonard Cole Field made Osmundson’s decision that much easier.

“I always ask who wants to take a PK before I decide,” said Osmundson. “If you don’t want to take it, then I won’t choose you. Tonight, I saw the hands and I saw five seniors so I told them ‘It’s your night, let’s go win it.’ We had five seniors volunteer and that made the choice easier for me. They picked the order, too.”

Seniors Brittany Waldron, Lindsey Ricken and Sam Smith all scored shootout goals and senior Amanda Hughes had 15 saves before denying the Rams on two of their five shootout attempts as the Bobcats guaranteed themselves a winning record following a 2-1 victory.

Hughes denied Southeast Polk sophomore Madison Edwards on the Rams’ final attempt to keep the shootout even at 2 and then Smith poked the final Bobcat attempt past the Rams junior keeper Ellen Bombela to clinch the win and an undefeated record at home this season.

“Most of these seniors have played on varsity for all four years. It was great to end their career at home with a win,” said Osmundson, who said it was the first time this group of Bobcat seniors had ever beaten the Rams. “It was a fun game to watch, it was intense and both teams were battling hard.”

It looked like the Bobcats were going to win 1-0 in regulation after senior Morgan Gardalen scored her first goal of the season early in the second half. Gardalen had been sidelined all season with a knee injury but managed to break a scoreless draw less than 3 minutes into the final half.

“Morgan scoring a goal was awesome,” said Osmundson. “That was the best way to come back from an injury. I am so proud of her and I couldn’t write it better.”

The Bobcats (9-6) maintained a one-goal advantage all the way until the final 10 minutes. The Rams (8-9) tied it when they converted on a scrum in front of the net that may have included a missed handling call by the officials.

“It looked like a hand ball. It looked like it went off one of their arms and went in,” said Osmundson. “It was a jumble in the middle. It was a weird play.”

The ball slipped past Hughes to tie the score, but the Bobcat keeper kept her team in the match the entire second half. The Rams attempted 15 shots and nine shots on goal in the second half, but Hughes was up to the challenge as she kept the match tied even through two 10-minute overtime periods.

She denied Caroline Rogers on the Rams’ second shootout attempt and then allowed Smith to win the game for the Bobcats after keeping the final session even at 2-all with another save. Mallory Brown’s attempt to start the shootout clanked off the crossbar, while Logan Johnson and Claire Hanniford both converted their attempts.

“She played great tonight,” said Osmundson in reference to Hughes. “She kept us in the game tonight. We can rely on her. They had a lot of shots in the second half.”

Taylor Vaudt’s attempt to start off MHS’ five attempts was saved by Bombela and Lexi Vaughn’s shot in a 1-all tie sailed just above the crossbar.

Ricken’s attempt went in after hitting the crossbar and that evened the shootout at 2-all.

The Bobcats hope to take the momentum of their Senior Night win into the postseason Wednesday when they travel to Class 3A No. 6 Waukee (14-3). The Region 4 semifinal match kicks off at 6 p.m. from Waukee Stadium. Waukee’s defense has recorded eight shutout this season, including three straight against Dowling Catholic (1-0), Dallas Center-Grimes (1-0) and Southeast Polk (5-0).

“They like to move the ball and make you chase them,” said Osmundson of the Warriors. “We need to work off what we did tonight and work really hard on defense.

“We’ll have to be on top of our game.”

Notebook

The Rams had a 31-17 advantage in shots. Marshalltown managed just three shots – two on goal – in the two overtime periods. … Fourteen seniors were recognized before the match. Four of them will play soccer at the collegiate level next season – Vaudt (Simpson), Gardalen (Central), Vaughn (Iowa Central) and Smith (Iowa Central). … Southeast Polk’s 5-0 loss to Waukee came this past Friday. One of Waukee’s three losses came against a school in Kansas during a tournament in Burlington back on May 2. … Marshalltown was 6-0 at home this season with those wins coming against Des Moines East, South Tama County, Fort Dodge, Mason City, Norwalk and Southeast Polk.