Lambert's season came to a disappointing finish Wednesday night as No. 1 ranked Roswell cruised to a convincing 2-0 victory at Ray Manus Stadium in the opening round of the GHSA Class AAAAAA playoffs.
Roswell's dynamic duo of forwards in Cal Jennings and Luis Vazquez provided the action, along with Arturo Hernandez, who combined to use their speed and fancy footwork to expend the defensive prowess of Lambert's backs.
Leading 1-0 with 35 minutes left in the contest, Vazquez curled a 25 yard bullet into the top, right corner of the net to put the exclamation point on the win.
Lambert coach Chris Wilson had high praise for both teams. At the end of the night, it was a battle of two of the toughest teams in the state, with Lambert being ranked No. 5 by eurosportscoreboard.com. The Longhorns got the tough draw of a top-five matchup in the first round as the fourth seed in a tough region, with Alpharetta, Chattahoochee and Habersham Central all in front in Class 6-AAAAAA.
“You hate the seeding, but at the same time I'm sure they didn't enjoy or envy the fact they had to play us in the first round,” Wilson said. “I thought we were two of the better teams in the state based on our ranking. I couldn't be more proud of my guys for what they accomplished this year. We truly were a team in everything we did defensively and offensively. I just hate it for our seniors who won't get to play another game.”
One senior didn't get to play much of his final game, either: Forward Jackson Katina had a knee-on-knee collision just minutes into the game that sidelined him for the remainder of the contest.
“It was sad to see that because he's a senior and didn't get to finish,” Wilson said. “Hopefully the injury wasn't too bad.”
Lambert goalkeeper Nicholas Coward had a busy day in the net, chasing off 11 shots as Roswell's talented, agile front end continued to apply pressure for the entire game. Roswell's first goal came from Jennings just 12 minutes into play, knocking in a ball from 8 yards out just to Coward's left.
Wilson did say he was disappointed with the 15-4 foul differential in favor of Roswell.
“I don't think the referee helped us much with his foul count, it being 15 to four in fouls, and it seemed like we didn't get any favors when we needed them,” Wilson said.
“They were much faster than we were in a lot of positions. We fought the best we could, defensively, but they beat us to everything tonight. At the same time they were faster and deserved the win tonight. They're a very good team. They showed why they are No. 1 in the state for sure.”
Lambert finishes the season 14-5 overall and will say goodbye to seniors Stephen Stroer, Matt Elliot, Cameron Bennett, Rob Bonet, Ryan Brobson, and Katina.