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Boys lacrosse playoff preview: Lambert at Pope
L MORourk web
Matt O'Rourk and Lambert boys lacrosse will open the Class AAAAAA tournament Wednesday against a familiar foe in Pope, the team the Longhorns defeated in the A-AAAA championship in 2011 and 2012. - photo by Brian Paglia


When: Today, 7 p.m.

Records, Rankings, Seedings: Lambert is 16-2, ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAAA and the No. 3 seed from Area 3-AAAAAA; Pope is 14-3, ranked No. 6 and the No. 2 seed from Area 2.

What to know: These two programs know each other well – verrrrry well. Lambert and Pope met in the Class A-AAAA championship games in 2011 and 2012. The Longhorns won both times. Now, Lambert is seeking to return to the state championship game for the fifth straight season, while Pope is looking to get back for the first time since its 2012 loss to the Longhorns.

If it’s any help, the teams faced five common opponents during the regular season: Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Roswell and Walton. Lambert went 4-1, Pope went 3-2 and the Longhorns’ margin of victory was a bit stronger than the Greyhounds’.

Even so, Lambert faces a similar situation as last season in that if it wants to get back to the state title game, it might have to do it all on the road. Yes, the Longhorns are the No. 1 team in the state (in Class AAAAAA and across all classifications), but by virtue of a three-way tie with Centennial and Johns Creek in Area 3-AAAAAA the Longhorns fell to the No. 3 seed on tiebreakers. Good thing Lambert has plenty of experience in goalie Garret Gomez, face-off specialist Trey Arnold, middie Matt O’Rourk and attack Hayden Barnes, among many, many others.

What’s next: The winner will face the Hillgrove-North Gwinnett winner.