With 28.3 seconds left in the first overtime period, tied with region rival South Forsyth, Lambert head coach Travis Church called a timeout to give his team the play.
After the referee’s whistle blew, the plan came together perfectly.
Ellie Kotanian ended up with the ball behind the goal, and with 14.2 seconds left, found Kennedy Dean, who streaked past the two South defenders and scored her fourth goal of the game, giving Lambert the 10-9 win and keeping the Longhorns undefeated in area play.
“We’ve really tried to establish our identity of giving a relentless effort for 50 minutes,” Church said. “Winning ground balls ... taking a charge with 20 seconds left to get the ball back. We’ve really been preaching hard effort and it showed there.”
Lambert was up 5-4 at halftime, but South moved freshman Kate Dominick to face-offs, resulting in three War Eagle goals in the first 4:11 of the second half, two by Dominick.
South’s lead was as large as 9-6 after Dominick scored her game-high fifth goal with 10:30 left in the second half.
“We know that they have a couple girls that can transition pretty quickly,” South Forsyth head coach Jim Boisjolie said. “We wanted to make sure that we could win that draw and get possession, which is always the key to the game.”
However, a timeout called by Lambert regrouped their defense and they did not allow another goal for the rest of the game. Church said team captains Kathryn Conti and Mackenzie Lipton were instrumental in the defense’s play.
To get the ball back in overtime, the duo drew a charge to give Lambert’s possession.
“They’re two captains that run a tight ship,” Church said. “They don’t take any smack in practice. They don’t let any non-hustle plays go.”
Despite the one-point loss, South’s goalie Danielle Serbinski played a great game, blocking 13 Longhorns shots, including two back-to-back saves at the end of the first half to keep the deficit at one goal. Serbinski even intercepted an over-the-goal pass attempt by the Longhorns late in the fourth quarter.
“[Serbinski] had a heck of a game,” Boisjolie said. “She’s had a really good season for us. She comes up big when you need her. She’s someone you can depend on. It’s like having a coach on the field.”
For the Longhorns, Dean and Morgan Moncrief lead with a team-high three goals. Kotanian scored two and both Hadley Bates and Delaney Hill scored a goal, with Hill’s goal tying the game at the end of regulation.
Other than Dominick’s five goals for South , Allie Magers scored twice and both Ruth Ann George and Avery Wyckoff scored goals. Callie Fraser had the only assists for the War Eagles.
“We never gave up,” Boisjolie said. “It’s our cross-town rival, so the girls wanted to come out and prove that they could play against them and I think that’s what they did. They never gave up and took the game into overtime. I’m extremely proud of them.”
Boisjolie added that his team played without any subs on the bench. He said that there was not much that he thought his team needed to change from the game, but to just focus on getting healthy.
South (7-3, 0-2 Area 6 6A-7A) hops back into region play on Friday, when the War Eagles travel to Gainesville.
In his four years as head coach at Lambert, Church has not won a region championship, coming as close as second. Eleven games into this season and the Longhorns are still undefeated in area play, along with Creekview and West Forsyth.
“Winning the region championship would be great,” Church said. “To come out here and fight South Forsyth, who is such a great team, makes me very proud of the team and hopeful. “
Lambert (9-2, 4-0 Area 6 6A-7A) will play a non-region game on Saturday against McIntosh, but will then get its best test of the season, playing West Forsyth and Creekview in back-to-back matches.
Their match with the Wolverines will be at Lambert on March 26.