Emily Haugen scored the lone goal of the contest Tuesday night as Lambert finished on the winning end of a marquee matchup against its next-door neighbors in South Forsyth, taking a 1-0 victory at home.
Both teams entered the rivalry game ranked in the top-10 by EuroSportScoreboard.com, South as the slight favorite with a No. 3 ranking, ahead of the No. 7 slot for the Lady Longhorns.
Lambert, now 10-1 and 5-0 in Region 6-AAAAAA, made a statement according to coach Scott Luthart, but it wasn’t without expending team fuel.
“We feel exhausted because every time we play South, I mean it’s a great rivalry, a crosstown rivalry, we’ll call it a friendly rivalry, because our kids play club soccer together and stuff like that,” Luthart said. “We feel like a lot of teams can push us in this county, but just with the proximity and familiarity with (South), just gives us a little extra something in the matchup.”
Haugen scored with 18 minutes to go in the second half off an assist from Lauren Hong. Haugen had another open look with 7:47 left to play, but goalie Hannah Goudy stepped in to keep the score within a goal.
South’s last chance to offer the equalizer was with 55 seconds remaining when Elana Zang offered a free kick following a penalty on a fastbreak, but her feed couldn’t translate into a shot on goal.
“We just played slow,” South coach Tom Braun said. “We did not come with our A game tonight. They were the better team and they beat us. Point blank. There’s nothing else to be said about it.”
While Lambert put the pressure on in the second half, both teams searched for rhythm in the first half. Luthart didn’t shy away from the fact his team has been in a stretch.
“I feel like the first half there were some nerves,” Luthart said. “We also played three games last week so I almost feel like there also might be a little fatigue in their legs too.”
Boys: Lambert 2, South 0
Rob Bonet and Jacob Merrill scored, with Merrill’s goal being assisted by Jalen Williams, as Lambert made up for a sloppy first half to take a 2-0 victory against South Forsyth. The Longhorns improved to 8-3 and registered their fifth straight shutout, while South fell to 1-11 on the year.
Still, Lambert coach Chris Wilson was impressed with South’s fight.
“I can’t believe South is just 1-11. They’re young, so the experience is definitely benefiting them,” Wilson said. “I’m proud of my guys. It’s the fifth game in a row we’ve had a shutout and we’ve put ourselves in a good situation to win region.”
Lambert just missed on goals with 26 minutes and five minutes to play in the first half; Matt Elliot nearly curled in a shot from 20 yards, while Bonet had a header attempt miss just high later in the half.