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Lucky Break Helps McMahon Into States

Luck has hardly been on the side of the Brien McMahon boys' soccer team this year, which has seven ties -- the most of any class in the state . While they were officially eliminated from the FCIAC tournament with a loss to New Canaan on Monday, they still had a shot at the state tournament if they could scrape out a win or a tie in their final two games. Luck finally went the Senators' way as they took advantage of a crucial non-call on a handball and beat Westhill, 2-0.

"My goal for the whole year was to make states. In the past few weeks we've really turned it around," McMahon first-year head coach Ken Dustin said. "We really worked hard. This was a huge win. I'm just excited now."

The game remained scoreless through the first half with Westhill bringing the most pressure. It seemed like just a matter of time before the Vikings got through the McMahon defense, when the Senators finally caught the break they needed. After the ball bounced off a couple of heads, it landed in front of McMahon senior captain Aleko Petridis, who slammed it into the net just three minutes into the second half. Westhill players thought it landed a little too nicely in front of Petridis, screaming for a handball penalty. The argument fell on deaf ears and McMahon's goal took the life out of Westhill.

"They were calling handball, but it just hit my stomach," said a coy Petridis. "It just landed in front of me and I put it in. I don't know what they were talking about."

Petridis' second goal was met with less controversy after he collected a beautiful cross-field pass from Braulio Vargas. Petridis literally kicked it through the hands of the diving Westhill goalie and iced the match for the Senators.

McMahon players needed two tries, but, for making the state tournament, they finally nailed Coach Dustin with a celebratory Gatorade bath after the game. The Senators did not qualify for states last year.

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