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Lambert boys lacrosse rides defense to state championship victory
Longhorns defeat Lassiter, 6-3, to claim three title in program history
L Trophy web
Lambert players pass around the Class AAAAAA boys lacrosse state championship trophy Saturday after their 6-3 victory at Lassiter. - photo by Micah Green

MARIETTA -- Lambert had its lowest scoring output of the season on Saturday night.

It walked off the field state champions.

The Longhorns had allowed just one goal until the final few minutes of play to win 6-3 over Lassiter, clinching the third state championship in the school's history that dates back to just 2009.

Still, this title was special. The seniors for Lambert (21-0) clinched an undefeated season after falling early in the playoffs to Pope last year. They also had experienced two state title game losses as freshmen and sophomores.

For senior Matt O'Rourk, who scored three goals Saturday, the bounce back was everything. He was one of the guys who struggled mightily in last year's disappointing early exit. Saturday's result was not just redemption, but a statement.

"This was the only goal we had since the season began," O'Rourk said. "We worked the entire offseason on every detail we could. Last year was the worst feeling, but this is the greatest feeling there is."

Heading into the final the Longhorns had six games where they allowed one or fewer goals. A few late lapses allowed Lassiter's Colvin Prosser and T.J. Conrad (two goals) to score for pride, but Lambert senior defenseman Justyn Jean-Felix thought his back line fulfilled a destiny.

"We knew we had potential to be the best defensive team ever," Jean-Felix said. "It showed tonight."

Lambert scored out of the gate with goals from seniors Hayden Barnes and Hunter Clem. It led 3-0 before Conrad put Lassiter on the board and 4-1 at halftime. Conrad McEvoy bounced through a goal from close range to make it 5-1 after Alex Walker snuck by the net and intercepted an out-of-bound pass intended for Lassiter's keeper.

Lambert goalkeeper Ben Stump had 10 saves, while Trey Arnold had the edge in face offs. Both, also, seniors.

"I'm so happy for our seniors," Lambert director of Lacrosse Rich Wehman said. "Ever since getting knocked out last year they've had this focus to them."

Even though Wehman has won state titles before, this one was even sweeter for him.

"It's special for me too, now," Wehman said. "I've got my son (Bradley) on the team this year, so to share that with him is amazing."

Wehman knew his team would bounce back and make a run at state, but he wasn't sure how realistic it was to go undefeated. In hindsight, he's not too surprised.

"When you play our schedule, I thought we'd have a blip somewhere you know?” Wehamn said. “I told our guys at the beginning of the year that defense wins championships. Yeah we have firepower, but you have to defend. They definitely took that seriously."

Despite playing at Lassiter's home field, Lambert filled the away stands with fans, all clad in black t-shirts that read, "I was there" on the back. Students managed to curl around the fences and meet the team at midfield after the game. It was a crowd Wehman won't soon forget.

"Our fans are incredible. Period. They're awesome," Wehman said. "They've been supportive all year, they made a huge difference today and honestly, it didn't surprise me at all."