Boys soccer: Smolak's goal just in time to lift Fremd over Buffalo Grove
Through 89-plus minutes of scoreless soccer, the Buffalo Grove defense played rock-solid Tuesday night against visiting Fremd.
Despite facing wave of attack after wave of attack from the potent Vikings, who held possession of the ball the majority of the game, it was still 0-0 late in the 10 minute sudden-death extra time period.
Fremd, though, was able to break through with just 50 seconds remaining in extra time, with Beck Smolak getting the "golden goal" to give the Vikings a 1-0 win.
"There's a ton of things we have to prove," said Smolak, a senior, "and, hopefully, we're going to keep trending upward."
Daniel Alfaro, Shant Demirjian, and Dennis Likhvoid led the strong BG back line effort, while senior keeper Charles Mancilla was outstanding in goal for the Bison.
"Fremd is one of the top teams in the state," said BG coach Darren Llewellyn, "and I was pleased that we were able to stay with them right to the end.
"The guys were very disciplined. We've had a little trouble with that this year as far as inexperience, that is the number of players we have, and the age of the players. Tonight though, they kind of put it all together, in regards to being able to maintain their shape, movement, and follow their runners."
BG's best chances to score came early in the initial half when Sebastian Hernandez chipped a nice ball into the box that just eluded sliding teammate Jacob Krajewski.
Fremd had some first half shots on goal, but didn't really test Mancilla until the second half.
Early on in the final 40 minutes of regulation, a shot from senior midfielder Dmitri Vlahos looked like it would break the scoreless tie, but his powerful blast went just over the crossbar.
The Vikings kept the pressure on, especially in the last ten minutes of regular time, and it looked like Leo Akashi was going to put Fremd on top in the 78th minute.
But Mancilla somehow got a piece of Akashi's point blank shot, which bounced off the crossbar, then the post, but somehow didn't go in.
Then came sudden-death, and Smolak delivered in clutch time to give Fremd the victory.
"My teammate, Adrian Blonski, told me, 'just go to the post,' " said Smolak. "And (senior midfielder) Ryan Sapiente crossed it in, Dimitri got some kind of little back flick on the ball, it bounced and I was there with a quick reflex to knock it in."
But despite the golden goal, Llewellyn took a lot of positives out of the contest despite falling just short.
"It's all about mentality, " said Llewellyn, "and like I told the guys before the game, just go out there and play at full speed, and have your mind dialed in. That is, in terms of 'where should I be' and 'who do I shift off of', and the communication -- it's all vital.
"It was a tough loss for us. We'd rather have had a win or a tie, of course, but I don't think we could have done much better."