Two games into this year's state playoffs, the Lambert boys lacrosse team's body of work is almost unblemished.
In the second quarter of the Longhorns' second round playoff game against Kennesaw Mountain on Monday night, with Lambert already carrying a 16-0 lead, the Mustangs scored. Kennesaw Mountain threw a pick, switching attack Ben Hull from Lambert senior Jaryd Jean-Felix to Taylor Brinkerhoff. Hull dodged around to clear space and put a shot in from close range.
It certainly wasn't the first goal Lambert (18-1) has given up this season. And Hull is committed to play at Michigan, so Lambert's certainly isn't the first defense he's punched through. And the Longhorns wound up winning 19-1, meaning they've outscored opponents 41-1 so far in the playoffs.
But another shutout would have been nice.
"I feel like they shouldn't have scored on us," Jean-Felix said.
Lambert's coaches and players are happy with the team's status with more difficult matchups ahead, though, and one of Longhorns director of lacrosse Rich Wehman's main takeaways from Monday's win was how the team's backup defense performed in the second half, when it held Kennesaw Mountain goalless.
"That's very encouraging," Wehman said. "They're out there practicing every day. When they go in the game, we expect them to perform, and they had a great half. So that was really exciting, to me."
And importantly for Lambert's top defenders, they stayed on the field for most of the game on Monday, longer than the first-string offense, after being yanked in the first half of the Longhorns' 22-0 win over Parkview in the first round of the playoffs last week. For Wehman, keeping them in that long was a matter of making sure the players were sharp, as the playoffs' early games weren't going to approach the intensity expected of the later matchups.
"It's one of the things that we talked about coming into the playoffs," Wehman said. "If we get into games like this, we don't want to use the games as conditioning, because we don't want them to get hurt. But it's tough, because we're trying to get them reps at the same time."
On top of that, Wehman said the team's practices to prepare for its quarterfinal matchup with Pope or Johns Creek will be particularly intense. He isn't stressing about the goal allowed, either -- a 19-1 win certainly doesn't point to a mediocre performance overall.
"I just want them to play well," Wehman said. "We're going to give up goals. I'm good with it; it didn't really matter."