NICHOLASVILLE — The Lexington Christian motto this year has been "finish strong."
"You have to finish strong because that's what people are going to remember," Coach Jim Tussey said he tells his players.
The No. 24 Eagles definitely played in one to remember Monday night against No. 17 Lafayette.
In the opening round of the boys' 27th District Tournament, LCA came from behind twice to tie it before toppling the Generals 4-3 in a shootout at East Jessamine Middle School.
The Eagles advance to face Lexington Catholic in the semifinals. The two teams played to a scoreless tie early in the regular season.
"In the past, when we'd get down like that we'd fold," Tussey said. "So even if we didn't win this game tonight, I was going to be pleased because we kept coming back."
In the penalty kicks, senior keeper Dylan Fouts blocked two shots, first one by Michael Lobbo and then one by Yuta Kiyama to lead the Eagles. Vinny Paiva's final PK went up and over the goal to end it.
"I just prayed," Fouts said of the blocked shots. "A lot of prayer. It's all you can do and just rely on what you've been trained to do."
Teammates Josh Braun, Wes Strunk and Ben Boone made their PKs to seal the win.
Without Paiva, though, the Generals aren't in the game. The senior scored two goals for Lafayette and hobbled through the rest of the game with an injured ankle.
"He got hurt about 15-20 minutes into the game and that really affected us big time," Coach Chris Grimm said. "He couldn't do what he usually does for us. ... He gave everything he had and that's all we could ask of him."
An own goal put Lexington Christian down 3-2 with 7:30 to play, but Fouts said the Eagles didn't get down.
"Since coach got here, he's encouraged us to stay positive with each other the whole time and it's sunk in now, so we couldn't worry about it," Fouts said.
Five minutes later senior Donald Moratz evened it up, forcing the extra periods off of a feed from Wes Strunk.
"My teammates played a great ball to me," Moratz said. "If I'd have missed it, it would have been embarrassing. They just set it up perfectly for me."
Bo Monaco and Strunk also scored goals for the Eagles in regulation.
It was a tough way to end the season for the Generals, who made it all the way to the region championship game last year before falling.
"I'm proud of them, especially the senior class," Grimm said. "We had great leadership, great character guys all season long, and as a coach, that's the thing you're most proud of. I'm real proud of all of the guys."
West Jessamine 6, East Jessamine 1: Junior Ryan Robinson scored three goals and assisted on a fourth to help the No. 15 Colts win their fifth straight and avenge a 3-1 loss earlier this season to their county rival.
"I felt it today," Robinson said of his first hat trick of the season. "The way we played tonight, it seemed like we all felt it, the whole team felt it."
Adam Howard and Cliff Evans also scored for the Colts, who will face No. 20 Paul Dunbar in the semis. The two teams tied 1-1 in the regular season.
Lexington Christian 4, Lafayette 3 (shootout)
Goalse_SEmDLCA: Bo Monaco, Wes Strunk, Donald Moratz; L: Vinny Paiva 2, Max Robinson. Goalkeeperse_SEmDL: Alex Moody; LCA: Dylan Fouts.
Shootoute_SEmDLCA: Josh Braun (made); Wes Strunk (made); Nate Spain (blocked); Ben Boone (made); Jon Hoke (wide right); L: Michael Lobbo (blocked); Jose Becerra (made); Yuta Kiyama (blocked); Max Robinson (made); Paiva (over goal).
Recordse_SEmDLafayette 9-6-5, Lexington Christian 11-5-3.
West Jessamine 6, East Jessamine 1
Goalse_SEmDWJ: Ryan Robinson 3, Adam Howard, Billy Congleton, Cliff Evans; EJ: Christian King. Goalkeeperse_SEmDWJ: Heath Crist; EJ: Taylor Higgs, Justin Griffith.
Records—West Jessamine 11-6-2, East Jessamine 8-10-1.