Though the Ottumwa boys soccer team dropped its season-opener to No. 12 (Class 3A) Ankeny, the Bulldogs have nothing to hang their heads about.
For 80 minutes, Ottumwa left it all on the field, and, in the end, it wasn’t enough.
“We’re getting opportunities, we’re just not putting them in the back of the net,” Ottumwa boys soccer coach Aaron Rose said. “Chemistry will always come.”
In many ways, the game was a tale of the two halves. The Hawks spent most of the first period on the Bulldogs side of the field, while Ottumwa was on the offensive for much of the second half.
“I think at 1-0 we started playing harder,” Ottumwa winger Osvaldo Trejo said, “and after the second goal, we pumped it up even more.”
The game remained stubbornly stuck at 0 until Harrison Densmore, the Hawks’ star freshman, who is among the goal scoring leaders in Iowa, scored on a header 34:52 into the first half to put his team up 1-0. Densmore, headed another one in early in the second half.
Aside from the goals, the Bulldog defense played solid throughout, especially defender Charlie Altfillisch, whose near flawless game prevented the Hawks from getting a lot more open shots on the goal.
“Charlie played phenomenal game today,” Rose said, “definitely the MVP of the game.”
If it wasn’t for Altfillisch, Rose said, more shots would have found the back of Ottumwa’s net.
The Bulldogs more aggressive offensive play earned them some more scoring opportunities in the second half, but they just weren’t able to get many clean shots on the goal.
The loss, however, left Ottumwa with a lot to build on.
“To come out in our first game and play with them like we did,” Altfilisch said, “I think it gave us confidence, and we now realize that we play with anybody if we can play with them. I think we can build on this and have a really good season. “
Ottumwa (0-1) plays at Centerville Friday.