Late in the third period Wednesday, Allatoona goalie Connor Hanson found himself the lone obstacle between Lambert junior Matt Geran and the net. With none of his teammates nearby, Hanson charged out of the net and did a full split in an effort to stop Geran, who casually whipped the ball over him and into the net for a goal.
It was that kind of night for the No. 1-ranked Longhorns, who scored 10 unanswered goals in the first half on their way to a 15-4 victory over the Buccaneers in the opening round of the state playoffs at The Horn.
Lambert (19-0), which clinched its third straight Area 3-AAAA-A championship late in the regular season, has won 39 consecutive games dating back to the 2011 season.
Lambert director of lacrosse Rich Wehman said he knew patience was going to be the name of the game for his players, after Hanson stopped five consecutive shots early in the contest.
“Their goalie made some great saves, but we kept reminding the guys to just stick with it, and they did,” Wehman said.
The Horns got their offense rolling midway through the first quarter, as midfielder Corey Phillips scored off a pass from behind the net by attack Ted Ryan.
Geran scored two minutes later off a bounce shot seven yards out. Nine seconds later, Ted Ryan scored after Kyle O’Donnell won the scrum and delivered two quick passes to Ryan in front of the net to give Lambert an early 3-0 lead.
The Horns scored four more goals in the next two and a half minutes to take a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The defense held Allatoona (10-8, 5-3), the Area 2-AAAA-A No. 4 seed, to only four shots on goal in the quarter and nine in the half.
“We actually played very well on offense today,” Wehman said. “One of the things we worked on with the kids is just being patient and moving the ball and eventually the shots would come to them.”
With a running clock to start the second half, Zack Price scored 12 seconds into the half off a long pass from O’Donnell after the face-off.
The Bucs finally got on the board at the 8:15 mark, as Cody Sorrells passed across the Lambert defense to Ryan Tesler, who scored from three yards out.
Geran answered one minute later with a bullet from five yards out. Tyler Define scored 30 seconds later for Allatoona. Geran and Brady Wilson each scored to bring the score to 13-2 after the third quarter.
Define scored 40 seconds into the fourth quarter that was dominated by both defenses.
Attack Ryan Fendt closed out the scoring for the Horns with a five-yard shot from the left wing.
Lambert advanced to face St. Pius X in the state quarterfinals.