For four years, Kate Sedgwick toiled as head coach to create Lambert girls lacrosse into something, and she did. She led the Lady Longhorns to their most wins in school history with 13 in 2011, the program’s second season; led them to their first state playoff appearance a year later; helped develop the county’s first Division I women’s lacrosse signee, Jenna Kasmarik, who signed with Johns Hopkins.
Then, in 2013, Sedgwick left to become head coach at Roberts Wesleyan College, but without one locally important accomplishment: defeating rival South Forsyth.
Back on Lambert’s sidelines after a two-year hiatus, Sedgwick marked that off her list Friday in the Lady Longhorns’ 13-5 victory against South at home in an Area 3-AAAAAA game.
Peyton Smith had five goals and two assists, Ali Wilson added three goals and Lambert (7-3, 2-2) bounced back from a disappointing 15-14 loss to Centennial on Thursday thanks in part to a defense that held South (2-9, 1-4) to just one goal in the second half.
“We had a very tough loss [Thursday] night,” Sedgwick said, “but we came out with more fight and more fire and did not look fatigued. Didn’t really look back at Centennial. We took what we needed to move forward, took what we needed to work on.”
South dominated the rivalry during Sedgwick’s first tenure with Lambert. Starting when the school opened in 2009, the Lady War Eagles won four straight in the series. Even after Sedgwick left for Robert Wesleyan, the Lady Longhorns lost again in 2014.
But last season marked a milestone. Lambert got its first win ever against South, then ended a two-year state playoff drought.
Sedgwick inherited much of that team this season, including two seniors, Jessica Beck and Ali Wilson, who made varsity as freshman in Sedgwick’s final season of her first tenure.
“It’s been great,” Sedgwick said about her return to Lambert. “It’s been a little bit surreal. It’s almost like I never skipped a beat.”
Sedgwick found Friday that the rivalry hasn’t skipped a beat either.
Lambert trailed 2-1 before scoring four straight and prompting South Forsyth head coach Kassie Smith to call a timeout. The Lady War Eagles responded, getting goals from Izzy Parker and Meredith Ray to cut Lambert’s lead to 5-4 with 9 minutes 20 seconds left in the first half.
But the Lady Longhorns cruised from there. Goals from Shelby Rumer, Smith and Wilson gave Lambert an 8-4 lead at halftime. Smith scored the first two goals of the second half to put Lambert up 10-4.
South’s Emily Dreslinski answered Smith’s second goal with 20:46 left in the game to make it 10-5, but the Lady War Eagles never scored again, a combination of Lambert’s defense stiffening and Lady Longhorns goalkeeper Morgan Berman making several deft saves.
The win kept Lambert within striking distance of a playoff spot halfway through its area schedule.
“It’s obtainable,” Sedgwick said, “if we play smart.”
But it also gave the Lady Longhorns their second straight against South.
“Feels good,” Sedgwick said.