Boys soccer: Smart's late goal helps Crystal Lake South tie Buffalo Grove

  • Buffalo Grove's Daniel Alfaro, left, and Crystal Lake South's Deven Tinajero leap for a header during Saturday's game in Buffalo Grove.

    Buffalo Grove's Daniel Alfaro, left, and Crystal Lake South's Deven Tinajero leap for a header during Saturday's game in Buffalo Grove. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Buffalo Grove's Jacob Krajewski, left, directs the ball with a header while Crystal Lake South's Andrew Smart leaps alongside him during Saturday's game in Buffalo Grove.

    Buffalo Grove's Jacob Krajewski, left, directs the ball with a header while Crystal Lake South's Andrew Smart leaps alongside him during Saturday's game in Buffalo Grove. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Buffalo Grove's Sebastian Hernandez, left, gets to the ball ahead of Crystal Lake South's Brendan Lewis during Saturday's game in Buffalo Grove.

    Buffalo Grove's Sebastian Hernandez, left, gets to the ball ahead of Crystal Lake South's Brendan Lewis during Saturday's game in Buffalo Grove. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Buffalo Grove's Andrew Gancarczyk, left, and Crystal Lake South's Nico Velasco pursue the ball during Saturday's game in Buffalo Grove.

    Buffalo Grove's Andrew Gancarczyk, left, and Crystal Lake South's Nico Velasco pursue the ball during Saturday's game in Buffalo Grove. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Buffalo Grove's Alex Gancarczyk, left, kicks the ball past Crystal Lake South's Dayton Murphy during Saturday's game in Buffalo Grove.

    Buffalo Grove's Alex Gancarczyk, left, kicks the ball past Crystal Lake South's Dayton Murphy during Saturday's game in Buffalo Grove. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Crystal Lake South's Deven Tinajero, right, tries to make a move against Buffalo Grove's Dennis Likhovid during Saturday's game in Buffalo Grove.

    Crystal Lake South's Deven Tinajero, right, tries to make a move against Buffalo Grove's Dennis Likhovid during Saturday's game in Buffalo Grove. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/2/2021 4:23 PM

With time slowly ticking away, visiting Crystal Lake South was starting to run out of time as the Gators trailed host Buffalo Grove 1-0 in nonconference boys soccer action Saturday afternoon.

But persistence paid off for Crystal Lake South as junior Andrew Smart's goal with 6:57 to play forced a 1-1 deadlock before the teams wound up playing to a 1-1 draw in a contest that was pretty much of a defensive struggle from start to finish.

 

After a scoreless first half, the Gators (13-2-2) fell behind 1-0 in the 12th minute of the second half as Buffalo Grove sophomore Aldo Torres got the ball in a crowd of players from 15 yards out on the right wing. Torres' strong shot found the left corner of the net past Crystal Lake South goalkeeper Chris Slawek with 26:58 to play.

The Gators' offense struggled to get going consistently without senior all-stater Tom Coughlin in the lineup due to a college recruiting trip.

But CLS freshman forward Ali Ahmed kept the play alive in the far right corner of the field despite the presence of numerous Bison players in the area scrambling for the loose ball in the open field.

Suddenly, defender Smart stepped up and nailed a goal into the left corner of the net as Buffalo Grove goalkeeper Daniel Tarantul had come well out of the net to try to get the ball.

"Ali was working very hard. He pressed up on the keeper and if he didn't do that the keeper would have gotten the ball," said Smart about his first career goal. "I think there is a lot ahead for us, honestly. The team has a bright future for this season."

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There was no IHSA state tourney last year due to the pandemic, but the Gators won the Class 2A state title in 2018 before taking second place in 2019.

"The guys grinded it out and played hard for a full 80 minutes and were able to find a goal to get the equalizer so I'm super-happy that we were able to get everybody in today," said CLS coach Brian Allen. "We were missing a couple of key players, but that is why we play a first-class program like Buffalo Grove. (BG coach) Darren (Llewellyn) does a great job with the guys and they took us out of our comfort zone which will help us get ready for that postseason run."

Junior Logan Vargas was the Gators' goalkeeper in the first half, and he stopped a shot on goal by Buffalo Grove junior Sebastian Hernandez in the 16th minute to keep the game scoreless early on.

CLS senior Tomasz Slawek had a long free kick saved by Tarantul at the end of the first half before Slawek's free kick sailed over the net from 27 yards out with 13:30 to play.

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