Brandon Lucas had a hat trick, including the game-winning goal in the 77th minute, and Fluvanna outlasted Monticello 4-3 in a wild opening-round game in the Region 3C Tournament.
Minutes after Jose Mendoza Martinez had answered Lucas’ second goal with a penalty kick, the Flucos’ forward knocked it in after a mad scramble in front of the net, sending the crowd and his teammates into a frenzy.
Lucas scored off an assist from Emory Davis in the 69th minute to make it 3-2, but just three minutes later, Martinez drew a foul in the box and leveled things once more.
“We’ve been working all year on staying focused [when it’s physical],” Davis said. “We played our hardest, in the end we were focused and we were scrappier, and that’s where three of our four goals came from.”
The first half between the two teams that came in with identical 8-9-1 records was less physical but not devoid of action.
Each team scored off a corner in the first 12 minutes. Fluvanna touched the scoreboard first when Lucas beat Mustangs keeper Kemper Goodman for a 1-0 lead. But four minutes later, Jack Billies answered for Monticello.
Monticello repeated the feat in the 21st minute, as this time Will Trout put a shot off a corner past Fluvanna’s Ryan Holman to give Monticello its first lead at 2-1.
“It wasn’t our best game — we made a lot of mistakes in the back,” Fluvanna coach Earl Gibson said. “But Brandon came through for us when it mattered most.”
Just when it looked like the Mustangs would go into halftime with the lead, the Flucos snatched it back when Ethan Smialek sneaked past the Mustang defense and tapped in a goal in the 37th minute for a 2-2 deadlock at the break.
“We knew this game was do-or-die so we had to give it our hardest,” Lucas said. “We ran our offense, played Emory through, found some good looks and were able to put it in the back of the net.”
Fluvanna held a narrow 12-11 edge in shots. Goodman and Holman had six stops each in the goal.
The Flucos will host Brookville on Thursday in a quarterfinal matchup.