In the 30 or so seconds after Matt Sobel’s save, Evan Hornick walked into the box to take his penalty kick.
Sobel’s stop had maintained Syosset’s 4-3 advantage in penalty kicks Wednesday night against host Plainview JFK. If Hornick could convert his shot, No. 5 Syosset would advance to a Nassau Class AA semifinal date with No. 1 Massapequa on Sunday.
He walked forward calmly and placed the ball in its spot.
“I was just thinking I’ve got nothing to lose,” he said.
Not all the Braves were as calm. Richie Rambarran noticed teammates looking at the ground. Even coach Brett Waxer chose to watch Hornick’s father, Eric, react in the stands.
Hornick sent a shot towards the bottom left corner. Will Price, who made six saves in regulation and has played tremendously since earning Plainview JFK’s starting job late in the season, could not react in time.
The ball went into the back of the net, and before the Braves could exhale they charged the box to celebrate their 2-2 win (5-3 in PKs) with Hornick.
“For him to put that in the back of the net, unbelievable,” said Sobel, who made 11 saves. “One of the highlights of my life.”
Richie Rambarran, who scored twice in the first half, converted the first penalty kick. Griffin Halpern, Sal Inglima and C.J. Emmerich followed.
After Rambarran netted his shot but before he went back to midfield to watch the rest of the penalty kicks, he found Sobel.
“After I made it,” Rambarran said, “I went up to him and said, ‘Dude, you’re going to make a save. You’ve got this.’”
It didn’t happen right away, but after Patrick Sternberg, Alex Martinez and Cole Huertas beat him, Sobel stopped Sam Rozenbaum’s shot before it tucked inside the left post.
“I got lucky and guessed right and the ball fell right in my hands,” Sobel said.
Syosset led 2-0 at halftime on Rambarran’s two goals, but fourth-seeded Plainview JFK (6-6-2) applied constant pressure. The Hawks finally scored in the 61st minute, when Rozenbaum assisted Zach Stromberg’s goal. Rozenbaum netted the equalizer in the 77th minute.
The Braves and Hawks played two 15-minute, golden-goal overtimes without scoring, though Plainview JFK nearly advanced on a header that sailed inches wide of the left post.
“That’s just a play where your heart skips a beat,” Hornick said. “Just missing by that narrow of a margin, it all could have been over there.”