ST. LOUIS, Mo.— The Fontbonne University men's soccer team continued its impressive streak of soccer in October as they erased a two goal deficit in the second half, forced overtime and won it with 22.0 seconds left in double OT by the score of 4-3 against Spalding, extending its winning streak out to six.
"Hats off to Spalding, that is a very strong side," said head coach Donnie Alberty. "Once we scored the first goal our intensity dropped. That's something we will have to improve on. We came back out from the break and worked much harder."
He added, "To win any game in overtime always feels good for the team that wins, but you have to feel for the other side a bit. I thought they were well organized and obviously came here to win. We feel very good and fortunate."
The Griffins (12-4-1; 7-1 SLIAC), outshot the Golden Eagles 29-15 on the night. Blake Smugala had himself a game with nine shots, one goal and an assist on the game winner. Corey Schmidt and Alex Phillips also scored, while Greg Ferry was the hero with his seventh goal on the season. In net, Tony Pitaro stood tall in the second half to finish with four saves.
On the other side of the pitch, Kornell Hilliard led Spalding with two goals and an assist. In goal, Nick Lucas came away with seven saves.
In the first half, the Griffins were awarded a free kick in the 10th minute. The ball was crossed into the box by Schmidt, tipped by Wolf at the far post and it went right to Phillips who buried his shot in to make it a 1-0 game.
The Griffins maintained that lead up until the 25th minute. Faysal Jilani received the ball and he lifted it up for the speedy Hilliard. He got behind the Griffins defense and he kicked it over Pitaro, into the net, tying the score at 1-1.
A little more than two minutes later, a through ball was placed ahead for Trustun Ashburn and he went on to find the back of the net, making it a 2-1 game. Over the next 11 minutes, the Griffins outshot Spalding 5-2 but the team was unable to score the equalizer.
Then, in the 38th minute, another through ball split the Griffins defense and it found Hilliard. He was able to beat Pitaro on the far side to give them a 3-1 lead at the break.
Things changed drastically in favor of the Griffins right away in the second half. The team wasted no time taking it to the Golden Eagles. They had a chance at the 50th minute to make it 3-2, but Nick Wolf's header went off the crossbar.
The team continued its offensive push and it eventually paid off 13 minutes later. In the 63rd minute, Phillips and Marc Roellig both had their shots saved by net-minder Lucas. However, he couldn't corral the ball and it found Schmidt.
He sent a laser shot that went off the bottom of the cross bar and landed behind the goal line to cut the deficit down to 3-2. As the game continued to go on the feel was the Griffins were going to score it was just only a matter of time.
In the 85th minute, the Golden Eagles were awarded a corner kick. FBU cleared it out and countered with numbers heading the other way.
Eventually, David Keeven found Smugala and he ripped a shot right at Lucas. The ball, though got away from him and it just inched over the line, tying the game at 3-3 to force overtime.
In the first overtime, the Griffins outshot Spalding 2-1 but nobody could score the game winner so it was off to a second OT. In the finale, Fontbonne dominated with a shot advantage of 3-0 but the team was running out of time to score.
Then, with 22.0 seconds left, Smugala got the ball near the box and found Ferry. He dribbled to his left side and scored, erupting the crowd and his teammates from its seats as the Griffins won, 4-3.
The team will play one final game before the SLIAC Tournament this Saturday against Principia. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m.
Fans make sure to stay updated on fontbonnegriffins.com throughout the year for full updates and recaps on the men's soccer team.