ST. LOUIS, Mo.— Behind Blake Smugala's two goals, including the game-winner in double overtime, the Fontbonne University men's soccer team earned an important 2-1 (2OT) win over Webster.
"I mean what can you say?" said head coach Donnie Alberty. "Just an exciting college soccer match, in an electric atmosphere. The guys played really good today, probably as well or better than we have played all season. Webster is a class program and very well coached. We knew we would have to bring everything we had and we got solid efforts all over the pitch."
He continued, "This was a strange situation because we didn't really know if a tie would help us in the standings or not, so we actually went to three in the back with about 15 minutes left. I just kept telling the guys we were not going to settle for a draw. So we just kept throwing numbers forward, almost as if we desperate for the game-winner. Coach Almeida made a point that good things happen when you put the ball in the box and Blake (Smugala) was able to find the game-winner off a ball flicked on in the box. When you consider that we lost three center-backs due to injury, as well as Brendan Kopff to cramps, it's just a solid effort all the way around."
"I have no idea if we will advance on in the tournament or not, but not many seniors can say they actually won their last collegiate match. So if we don't go on, that's a pretty special way for these guys to end their careers."
The Griffins (9-9; 6-3 SLIAC), outshot the Gorloks (13-4-1; 5-2-1 SLIAC) 23-16. Smugala netted goals five and six while contributing 10 shots. In goal, Drew Blair improved to 7-5 after making six saves.
Webster was led by the performance of Chris Clay as he totaled one goal and added four shots. In net, Matt Amick did what he could with his 12 saves.
Throughout the beginning of the first half, the Griffins were dominant on both ends of the pitch. In the 27th minute, after owning a 10-2 shot advantage, the team was able to get on the board.
Smugala found the loose ball at the top of the box and he lifted it over Amick into the back corner of the far post, giving the Griffins a 1-0 lead.
However, five minutes later, the Gorloks answered. Off a free-kick, the ball bounced in the box and off a Griffins defender's hand and that gave Webster a penalty-kick. Clay stepped up and his shot just got under the diving left arm of Blair to tie the game.
In the second half, the Gorloks outshot Fontbonne 10-9. The pressure really picked up from the 80th minute on with the Griffins pushing up front with five shots, but Amick earned two saves and it was off to overtime.
After a scoreless first OT where both teams tied in shots with two, the Griffins were able to punch through in the finale.
At 100:25, Smugala got the ball five-yards out from the goal and he scored to give Fontbonne the 2-1 win.
The team will now wait-and-see if they'll punch its ticket to the SLIAC Tournament. Iowa Wesleyan visits MacMurray on Monday, while Principia takes on Webster.
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