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Smugala's Game-Winner Lifts Griffins Past Spartans

Smugala's Game-Winner Lifts Griffins Past Spartans

MONTGOMERY, Ill.—Behind Blake Smugala's game-winning goal with just over 10:00 minutes remaining in the second half, the Fontbonne University men's soccer team improved to 1-0 on the season with a 3-2 victory over Aurora.

"It's tough to travel and then play," said head coach Donnie Alberty." We went down 2-1 and looked a little heavy-legged. However, the guys coming into the match and the intensity that came from the bench turned the tide. We played with so much more intensity and then Marc (Roellig) scored an absolute screamer from 28-yards out. We were able to feed off that goal."

He added, "Then, Blake (Smugala) capitalized on a mistake in the back and Erik (Volk) made about four or five quality saves. Overall, a solid effort for our first match."

Despite being outshot 19-8, the Griffins got an outstanding performance out of junior Erik Volk in net. The Florissant, Mo., native, came away with eight saves, including six in the second half. Offensively, Andres Castro and Marc Roellig joined Smugala in the goal department.

Aurora (0-2), not only had the shot advantage but also combined for 12 corner-kicks compared to the Griffins two. Justin Rutherford led the Spartans with three shots and a goal, while Collin Foreman netted the other. In net, Edward St-Martin finished with two saves.

In the first half, the Spartans opened with a 1-0 lead at the 8:03 mark. Kyle Seymour got the ball inside the penalty box and got around the charging Volk. He didn't have a shot from the end line, however, his cross found the foot of Rutherford, who blasted it into the far corner of the net.

Five minutes later, though the Griffins were awarded a free kick from 25-yards out. Castro stepped into it and the ball hit the near post, off the back of St-Martin, and into the net.

Less than three after Fontbonne's goal, the Spartans regained the lead on Foreman's goal from inside the box and Aurora held onto that one-goal advantage the rest of the half.

In the second frame, the Griffins forced a turnover at 55:46 and Roellig passed it up to Smugala just outside the box. He one-timed it back to Roellig, who sent a low line drive shot into the far corner of the net, tying the game at 2-2.

Then, at 79:47, Zack Lyeki sent the ball up from midfield towards the edge of the box for Smugala. A Spartans defender got there first, though and he attempted to head it back to St. Martin. However, he didn't get a good pass back towards the keeper, allowing Smugala to race in and beat the Spartans goalie for the game-winner.

The team returns to action on Sunday afternoon for a 2:45 p.m., outing against Dominican.

Fans make sure to stay updated on fontbonnegriffins.com throughout the year for full updates and recaps on the men's soccer team.

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