OTTUMWA — The goal in soccer is to put the ball in the back of the net.
Chariton’s Kourtney Nichols took it one step further on Tuesday night at Eric Wertheim Field. The Charger senior put the ball beyond the back of the net, so much so that it led to a delayed celebration of what proved to be a game-winning goal against the Ottumwa girls’ soccer team.
“I was pretty sure it went in the goal, but I wasn’t sure when I saw it rolling outside like that,” Nichols said. “I was asking if it went in the goal and my teammates were telling me it went in, but it went through a hole.”
“We were all asking ‘Is it a goal? Is it a goal?' Finally, the referee told us it was a goal. That’s when we all started celebrating.”
Nichols’ second goal of the night, coming with just under six minutes to go in regulation, snapped a 1-1 tie and lifted Chariton to a 2-1 victory over Ottumwa on Tuesday night. The loss was the second-straight home game in which a late goal cost the Bulldogs a victory.
OHS head coach Brett McKenzie, however, felt the start of the match made more of a difference than the exciting end.
“In the first 10 minutes, we didn’t come ready to play,” McKenzie said. “We kind of took over control, but that mistake in the first 10 minutes and that lack of intensity killed us. They got just a couple opportunities all night and they capitalized on it.”
Nichols’ first goal, coming in just the seventh minute of the match, left OHS searching for an answer for almost 49 minutes. Finally, midway through the second half, junior Daylin Latham found the answer for the Bulldogs by powering a kick from long distance past Charger goalie Baylee Morris.