Soccer: Lambert girls inch closer to region championship
The Lambert girls soccer team is almost there.
With their 2-0 win over Milton at home on Thursday night, the Longhorns are now a win away from clinching the Region 5-7A title and a No. 1 seed in the state playoffs. They’re one game ahead of South Forsyth in the region standings, with one region game remaining on each team’s schedule.
“I guess the best word is ‘relieved,’” Lambert head coach Scott Luthart said to sum up his feelings after the match.
That’s because one of the toughest stretches of Lambert’s regular season is now over, with the Longhorns having scored wins this week over West Forsyth and Milton, two teams that will also make the playoffs out of the region. Lambert beat West in penalty kicks on Tuesday, the second time of the season the Longhorns have had to finish the Wolverines off in that fashion. To edge Milton, Lambert (10-3-0, 8-1 Region 5-7A) had to withstand a couple very close calls.
The Longhorns did play the entire game with a lead, first striking six minutes into the game, when Katelyn Castelli controlled a botched pass from Milton’s goalkeeper and fired a strike into the vacated net.
But with seven minutes left in the half, a handball in the box gave the Eagles a penalty kick. Emma O’Connor’s shot didn’t test Lambert keeper Jordyn Ebert, though, as it bounced off the left post and out.
Ebert did need to take action five minutes later, when she rushed forward for a ball rolling towards the box and collided with a Milton attacker. The ball’s path took it dangerously close to the left post, but it eventually rolled out.
The second half was a calmer one for Lambert. Ellie Prybylski scored the Longhorns’ second tally 12 minutes in, controlling a ball on the left side of the box, deking twice to clear space and firing a shot into the right side of the net.
After the match, Luthart reminded the gathered Longhorns players that they will be at worst a No. 2 seed, which would give them a home game to start the playoffs. A No. 1 seed would extend the guarantee of hosting past the opening round, though.
The Longhorns can lock up the region title on April 14, when they’re scheduled to face Forsyth Central on the road. They have three non-region games between then, with two coming during spring break in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
“It’s been a long, arduous schedule so far,” Luthart said. “At the same time, we want to stay clicking and stay sharp.”
The boys game between Lambert and Milton that was scheduled for Thursday was postponed due to storms moving through the area.