Boys soccer: Smazil's feeling better after netting game-winner
Jerry Smazil's senior season hasn't gone exactly as planned.
The Downers Grove South forward missed one game due to COVID protocols, then suffered a sprained ankle that caused him to sit out five more.
Smazil still isn't fully healed, but he's feeling a little less pain after scoring the game-winning goal against crosstown rival Downers Grove North on Thursday.
Smazil scored off a give-and-go with teammate Josh Venouziou midway through the first half and Giovanni Torrijos added an insurance goal early in the second half to lift the host Mustangs to a 2-0 victory to capture the Downers Cup.
Smazil's goal was his fifth of the season and second in as many games since returning from injury. He also scored in Tuesday's 3-2 upset win over Addison Trail.
"I'm still sore and there's nothing I can really do about that," Smazil said. "I'm just trying to play through it, get as many minutes as I possibly can. I love playing."
Smazil knows he probably won't feel 100% for the rest of the season. But he's glad to be back in action.
"These last two weeks really sucked missing those games," Smazil said. "I've been itching to play, so it was awesome to play against Addison Trail.
"Then playing tonight, the atmosphere, the fans, this is what you live for. As a high school player, you love this stuff."
Downers South coach Jon Stapleton is happy to have Smazil back. The Mustangs (6-5-1) have won four straight and are tied for first in the West Suburban Gold.
"He's really important," Stapleton said. "I think there were some tired legs out there, there weren't tons of chances. We were able to capitalize."
Torrijos said Smazil gives the Mustangs a physical presence up top.
"Jerry is as tough as it gets," Torrijos said. "If you hit him once, he's going to get right back up and go at it again.
"It's going to be hard to keep him out. He's going to keep coming."
As important as Smazil's finish was, it was Torrijos who launched the shot of the night. He spun around a defender and ripped a 16-yard shot into the left corner of the net at the 32:22 mark of the second half.
"It was pretty big for us to come out strong, especially since we were only up one," Torrijos said. "We were able to just calm it down the rest of the game."
Zach Johnson made three saves to record the shutout for Downers South, which allowed the Trojans (4-11) only three shots.
"They worked harder than us today and had more quality than us today," Downers North coach Mike Schmitt said. "Their build-up play was really nice, they created a lot of space and exploited it pretty well and had a couple clinical finishes."