If ever there was a chance for West Forsyth’s boys lacrosse team to assert itself over county and state powerhouse Lambert, this seemed the time.
The Wolverines entered Friday’s game a school-best 13-1, optimistic that their mixture of senior leadership and youthful talent could produce a statement game against the defending state champion Longhorns.
Instead, Lambert made the statement.
Frenetic on offense and relentless on defense, the Longhorns cruised to a 19-6 victory at home in a crucial Area 5-6/7A game that leaves Lambert one victory away from clinching the area championship and securing a No. 1 seed in the state playoffs.
The Longhorns (13-1, 7-0) can accomplish that with a win against Cambridge (10-3, 3-1) at home Tuesday.
“We feel pretty good about this team,” Lambert director of lacrosse Rich Wehman said. “They really have not played a bad game all year. I knew that (West) would be a tough game, but I thought, you know what, like I told the kids in the locker room before the game, if we just play our game like we’ve been playing, just do what you’ve been doing, we’re gonna be fine. And I think that’s kind of how it played out.”
This season so far has been a remarkable testament to Lambert’s program. Coming off an undefeated state championship season, the Longhorns graduated nine starters or significant contributors, including seven college signees, and the losses were to every level of the team: attack, defense, faceoff specialist, goalie.
No matter. The team has, as Wehman put it, “reloaded.”
Gerard Kane and Peyton Miller have elevated roles on attack this season, and they led eight different Lambert scorers with five and four goals, respectively. Kyle Lewis transferred back to Lambert from St. Pius X, and he facilitated the offense Friday with five assists. First-year starter Phillip White controlled the faceoff. New goalie Andrew Tibbett made five point-blank saves in just one half of work.
All were in sync from the start Friday. The Longhorns raced out to a 5-0 lead in less than six minutes and forced four turnovers by West.
The Wolverines made a brief run in the second quarter with back-to-back goals from Preston Loughran to make it 11-3, but Lambert responded. Kane double juked West defenders and dumped an easy goal under West’s goal keeper. Sophomore Ryan Overbay connected on a mid-range shot. Lambert led 13-3 at halftime.
“I think we were moving the ball right off the dodge,” Lewis said, “coming from the backside pretty good and finishing on our outside shots.”