When Tatum Richey left Lambert’s field late Friday night following a 1-0 loss to No. 5-ranked South Forsyth, she knew something had to change.
Four days later, Lambert made a shift that gave Richey the opportunity to script a different outcome.
Tied 1-1 against Centennial, the No. 6-ranked Lady Longhorns went to a 4-4-2 formation with only a few minutes left in regulation to give themselves a better scoring opportunity.
The move paid off when Richey notched her second goal of the night on a shot from 25 yards away in the 78th minute to lift Lambert to a 2-1 victory over the Lady Knights on Tuesday at The Horn.
"I just knew we had it," Richey said. "As long as they put it on the frame, I had a pretty good feeling that it was going to go in and I just knew we had to put it away and not go into overtime because of that team.
"We walked off that field [after the South game] knowing we had to do some things differently and it was an eye-opener. So, honestly, it was probably a blessing in disguise."
Emily Haugen nearly scored nine minutes into the game for Lambert (10-2, 9-2 Region 6-AAAAAA) with a shot that hit the right post, but it bounced out of play.
The Lady Longhorns kept attacking and found the back of the net in the 18th minute as Casey Baker crossed the ball over to Richey for an easy goal from only a few yards out to make the score 1-0.
Centennial (4-9, 2-9) showed some urgency following the goal and tied the game after Megan Witte got a rebound and kicked it past the keeper with 12:45 left in the first half.
The Lady Knights continued to push on offense and almost scored another goal, but Anna Floum’s shot sailed just left of the post and sent both teams into the half tied at 1-1.
Richey and Heather Lacy almost scored in the second half, but Lacy’s shot was knocked away by the keeper, while Richey’s was just over the crossbar.
Lambert’s defense held firm and didn’t allow a shot on goal in the second half.
Richey knocked in the winner when she manuevered to the ball into the middle of the field and sent a shot into the bottom left corner of the net.
"We don’t quit," Lambert head coach Scott Luthart said.
"With our region format the way it is, it’s critical to finish things off in regulation, so we actually pushed numbers up…because you actually get that second point for your tiebreaker and only one point if you win in overtime. So, knowing how tight our top three are in our region with three teams at 8-2, we kind of felt like we couldn’t give that point away."