Lambert wasn't going to let West Forsyth walk away with everything.
Three days after the Lady Wolverines clinched the Region 6-AAAAAA title, a seemingly improbable feat considering the team was just 7-9 a season ago, Lambert managed to spoil West's senior night with a dramatic winner in penalty kicks, 4-3, Friday night on the road.
Junior defender Daniela Conroy was the seventh shooter for Lambert, landing the decisive winning kick past goalkeeper A.J. Needham with a strike in the bottom left corner. Lambert players swarmed Conroy near the goal in celebration.
Not only was the winning kick a statement for a team that might enter the state playoffs as a No. 4 seed despite being ranked as a top-5 team in the state, but the result was West's first loss against a region opponent all season.
“It's cool to beat a region rival because we feel like the quality of soccer in this county is stellar,” Lambert head coach Scott Luthart said. “Really, honestly, the playing field is more level right now than it has ever been. West beat the two teams that beat us. The fact that we have three of the top five teams in Georgia is a testament, so anytime you beat a team with that type of caliber and muscle out a win is very gratifying.”
Lambert goalkeeper Jordyn Ebert set up the winning kick by saving the first two shots in the second leg of penalties, which were delivered by Lauren Deaton and Megan Moore. Ebert had three penalty-kick saves, while Needham denied one shot.
West (12-4-1, 8-1) missed its opportunity at an unblemished region record when Izzy Lynch missed just wide off a feed from Megan Moore with one minute remaining in the first extra time period.
“That's a tough loss after a hard played game. Lambert is a great opponent, they didn't give us much, it was back and forth,” West head coach Jason Bayush said. “You don't want to lose senior night on PKs but at the end of the day it doesn't mean too much. I think going to so many overtime games this year, they were comfortable, so as a coach you feel comfortable too, but I'm very proud of the girls. They played great in overtime. Lambert gave us the best game probably all year, so hats off to them.”
Lambert (14-2, 7-2) also had a major missed chance, as Ellie Prybylski had a shot off a cross with just 20 seconds to go in regulation, but she mishandled the ball and never applied a shot toward the goal.
Lambert had a 13-10 advantage on shots and an 8-6 advantage on shots on goal, but traded moments of momentum with West throughout the game. The Lady Longhorns applied pressure right out of the gate, only to watch West do the same in the second half.
Both teams had players leave the field with yellow cards in the second half. Lambert's Keely Cartrett walked off with 15 minutes to play for a non-contact yellow card, while West's Kylie Gazza, who scored three goals on Tuesday, never saw a late chance to score as she was removed for what appeared to be an inadvertent collision with Ebert near the goal.
West will remain the No. 1 seed in the region thanks to a tie-breaker over John's Creek, who also finished with an 8-1 record. South Forsyth, with a tie-breaker over Lambert, will be the No. 3 seed if it defeats Alpharetta on Thursday, but the No. 4 if they fall.
“We feel very confident that even as a four seed we can make a run,” Luthart said.
But before the playoffs begin, Luthart's team will have a shot at a rematch of last season's state championship when they host Grayson (12-2) on Tuesday night. Lambert will also take on Buford (12-2) before the postseason.
Lambert boys 6, West Forsyth 1
Davis Eddleman led the way, scoring goals in the first and second half and applying pressure all night to lead the Longhorns (10-6, 6-3 Region 6-AAAAAA) to a runaway victory on Friday night.
The game's result secured a spot in the state playoffs, making the Longhorns the only Forsyth team from the region to make a spot.
Eion Griffiths, Dean Bogarde, Jay Patterson and Alex Christensen also found the back of the net in the win. West Forsyth goalkeeper Leo Swanger had a trio of superb saves despite the lopsided score, while West's lone goal came from Carlos Reyes with a header three minutes into the second half.
West falls to 7-9 and 3-5 in the region with the loss, but can bounce back against Habersham (6-5-1) next week.