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OT goal sends boys soccer Hornets to AA semis

F-M outlasts Nottingham, 3-2, on Avarell game-winner

— Though it took going beyond regulation, the Fayetteville-Manlius boys soccer team still finds itself in the chase for a Section III Class AA title.

Lucas Avarell buried an overtime penalty kick to give the Hornets a 3-2 win over host Nottingham in Wednesday night's Class AA quarterfinal.

Avarell scored 11 minutes into the first OT period. The Hornet junior booted a perfect shot into the lower right corner, earning no. 6 seed F-M a semifinal game against No. 2 seed Cicero-North Syracuse, who beat Corcoran 5-0 in its quarterfinal game. That contest will be played next week at a site and time to be announced.

That Avarell had the chance to play hero was down to a bizarre play. He was on the bench when a Bulldogs defender intentionally stopped the ball from going into the net with his hand.

The referee immediately called for a penalty shot. He also gave a red card to the offending Nottingham player. That red card allowed Hornets coach Jeff Hammond to make a substitution.

“I was pleased because we had Lucas," Hammond said. "He’s our best penalty kick shooter. We’ve been working on PK’s the last two weeks and he’s been automatic.”

Avarell, an exchange student from Brazil, was still a bundle of nerves 10 minutes after his winning kick.

“I can’t even talk right now,” Avarell said. “I was prepared but nothing prepares for this.”

Avarell got his name on the scoring sheet much earlier. He opened the scoring, heading home Aaron Epling’s precision cross midway through the first half.

The Bulldogs pulled even later in the half. Class AA player of the year Elevedin Hasanovic and Hornets goalie Jim Brady got to a long ball at the same time. Hasanovic won the battle, and kicked home the equalizer from a tight angle in the 27th minute.

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