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Nick of time: Paganelli strikes

Nick Paganelli can play anywhere on the soccer field. That versatility has allowed Fordham Prep coach Pete McNamara to plug some holes, especially in the back.

That’s where Paganelli has played for most of the season, but the senior hasn’t complained, even though it has stifled his natural attacking ability. But in a critical CHSAA Class A Archdiocesan clash against rival Regis, Paganelli was given the green light to go forward and the Rams captain took full advantage.

Paganelli scored a pair of goals, including the dramatic 70th-minute equalizer, in a 2-2 draw at Murphy Field on Friday.

Paganelli put Fordham Prep (1-2-5) in front in the 17th minute, heading Sebastian Palomino’s corner kick past Regis goalkeeper Conor Hailey.

Hailey got some revenge five minutes later, punching away a patented Paganelli blast of a free kick from 30 yards and on the half hour Regis (3-3-3) equalized as Kyle Sarnataro pushed the ball past Fordham Prep goalkeeper Christian Quinttus.

Will Eberts, one of the top center forwards in the city, gave the Raiders a 2-1 lead, when he turned on his defender and ripped the ball over Quinttus’ right shoulder in the 58th minute.

On Sept. 22, Regis had what seemed to be a commanding two-goal lead only to see Fordham Prep rally for a 2-2 draw at Randall’s Island. Once again, the Raiders conceded a late equalizer as Paganelli scored off a scramble in front of the goal.

“Those goals always come from the guys who want it more,” Paganelli said. “We all wanted it so bad. We were all there in the zone and I was just lucky to get my foot on it.”

It wasn’t exactly the type of history the Raiders were looking to revisit.

“Twice against Fordham Prep we haven’t been able to close the door,” Regis coach Vincent Catapano said. “All credit to them, both games they kept fighting.”

The draw didn’t do either team any good in terms of the standings. Regis blew a chance to remain in striking distance of first-place Iona Prep and all but lock up second in the division.

Fordham Prep was unable to follow up its first win of the season and also hurt its opportunity to finish second.

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