By Josh Holland
For the Forsyth County News
With a slim one-goal lead and a minute left before halftime, the Lambert boys lacrosse team opted to call a timeout. It was clear that the crowd wasn't satisfied with the small margin, as they anxiously rattled their cowbells.
The Longhorns quickly regrouped, though and scored a goal that proved to be vital in the second half. Drew Kotanian set up a streaking Gerard Kane who quickly slid the ball by the Lassiter goalie, sending the crowd into a frenzy that lasted through halftime.
That goal gave Lambert a 3-1 lead heading into halftime of their state semifinal matchup against Lassiter on Wednesday night at Lambert. The Longhorns went on to win 8-4 and secure their place in yet another state title game.
In the first quarter both teams were creating chances, but Lambert was converting the most. A quick opening goal two minutes into the game from Kotanian sprung the Longhorns into the lead. Five minutes later, Lambert pounced on a loose ball, which Kane stuffed into the back of the net to double the Longhorns' lead.
In the second quarter, it didn’t take Lassiter long to get on the board, as Eli Ensor scored for the Trojans to make it 2-1 with ten minutes left in the half. Then, right before halftime, Kane scored just before halftime. Lambert director of lacrosse Rich Wehman emphasized the goal’s importance after the game.
“It was big," Wehman said. "We left some opportunities on the table in the first half, and so getting that at the end of the half was good because I think it gave us a little bit of momentum. If we had taken advantage of some of the other opportunities we had, we could have had a little bit more of a cushion.”
The third quarter saw the margin between the two teams remain the same, thanks to one goal from each side, including a sensational solo run from Lambert’s Benny O’Rourk with four minutes to go.
The fourth quarter brought a flurry of goals from both sides. Lassiter scored two goals two minutes into the quarter that were separated by less than a minute to tie the game at four. The home Lambert crowd was shocked into silence, but their players slowed the game down and remained calm, and soon the Longhorns retook the lead.
“We knew they were a high powered offensive team but we didn’t do anything special. They set the tempo and eventually we got some goals in the end," Wehman said.
A flurry of Lambert goals ensued and Lassiter couldn’t find a way back. The four unanswered goals finished off the Trojans and propelled the Longhorns to the state title game. The Longhorns will go for another crown, which has become the standard for the program, on Saturday at Kennesaw State against Walton.
"When you've had the success that we have, unfortunately that's the measuring stick that people go by," Wehman said. "I don't really want it to be that way, because I don't want the kids to not enjoy themselves."