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MAKE IT SIX: Lambert scores 7 unanswered goals to stun Walton, win 6th title
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Lambert's Evan Suh fires a shot Saturday during the Longhorns' 7-4 win against Walton in the Class 6A-7A state championship game. Photo by Kevin O'Brien/Split Second Images

By Colin Hubbard

For the Forsyth County News

The first three quarters were a struggle for Lambert. 

Facing Walton in the Class 6A-7A state championship Saturday at Denmark High School, the Longhorns found themselves down four goals early and trailed by two heading into the fourth quarter. 

Needing a special fourth quarter to repeat as champs, they got one. 

Just 2-for-23 on shot attempts in the first three quarters, Lambert scored five times in the final 12 minutes and stunned Walton with a 7-4 victory to give the Longhorns back-to-back state championships and the program's sixth. 

The Longhorns scored the final seven goals of the game after trailing the Raiders 4-0 early in the second quarter. 

“[Walton] played lights-out in the first half,” Lambert coach Nate Hamilton said. “Their goalie was on fire and we couldn’t get in a rhythm. In the second half, we put one in the net and it just kind of kept flowing from there. To shut Walton out in the second half is absolutely incredible. The defense was awesome and the offense stepped up.”

Accuracy was an issue for the Longhorns in the first three quarters, but they were lights-out when the game mattered the most.

Lambert was 5 of 8 on shot attempts in the fourth quarter, with two coming from sophomore Charlie Goldstein. The sophomore knotted the game at 4-4 before standout senior Danny Kesselring gave the Longhorns a 5-4 lead with just under seven minutes remaining. 

“The first half was not Lambert lacrosse,” Kesselring said. “We came out in the second half and played Lambert lacrosse and we were able to come back and win the game. Our coaches told us to just keep shooting and that they were going to fall eventually. Their goalie played really well. They told us to just keep the same shots that we were taking. We didn’t let that get to our heads. I couldn’t think of a better way to end my high school career. I played two years at Lambert and won two state championships.” 

The opening quarter couldn’t have gone much worse for the Longhorns. The Raiders grabbed an early 1-0 lead at the 8:57 mark and went on to score two more times in the quarter. Lambert had its opportunities to score but failed to capitalize around the circle. 

Their best scoring opportunity came while trailing 1-0 when Brooks Wehman flashed in front of the goal uncovered. A pass attempt to Wehman sailed high, however, and the missed scoring opportunity proved costly as the Raiders gained possession, marched down the field and scored to extend their lead to 2-0 with 4:03 left in the quarter. 

Following another missed opportunity from the Longhorns, when Evan Suh fired a shot from 20 yards out with under two minutes left, Walton scored again. Lambert goalie Hunter Klosterman was pulled out of the goal, leaving plenty of space for the Raiders to score, and they extended their lead to three goals with 1:27 left. 

Heading into the second quarter looking to find some momentum, the Longhorns were unable to find any. 

With 9:34 left in the quarter, Walton scored again on a shot from distance to extend its lead to 4-0. The Longhorns had more opportunities to score. They fired seven shots in the first seven minutes of the quarter but came up empty each time. 

In desperate need of a goal, the Longhorns finally got one when Danny Kesselring found an open Wehman, who rocketed a ball past the Walton keeper to trim the deficit to 4-1 with 2:45 left in the first half. 

The Raiders proved to be the more accurate team in the first half. Walton attempted just seven shots in the first half but connected on four of them. Lambert outshot the Raiders 12-7 but was able to connect on only one of them. Lambert missed its first 11 shot attempts before Wehman put the Longhorns on the board late in the first half. 

The Longhorns gained some much-needed ground and momentum on the Raiders in the third quarter. 

Just 1:34 after halftime, Lambert’s Brent Starcher fired a strong left-handed shot into the back of the net to cut Walton’s lead in half, 4-2. The Longhorns continued to fire shots, but their accuracy struggles from the first half continued. They shot just 1-for-11 in the quarter, but managed to keep the Raiders off the board in the quarter and headed into the fourth quarter trailing by two. 

Walton nearly extended its lead to 5-2 just seconds into the fourth quarter when a wide-open Raider ran straight at the goal, only to fumble possession and give it back to the Longhorns. 

From that point on, the Longhorns rolled. 

Chris Harper scored on a pass from Suh to trim Walton’s lead to 4-3 with 9:10 left. Fewer than two minutes later, Goldstein raced down the center of the field and scored to tie the game at 4-4. The Longhorns won the ensuing face-off, and less than a minute later, they took their first lead of the game 5-4 when Kesselring fired a rocket into the back of the net from 18 yards out. 

“It was crazy,” Kesselring said of his goal. “I scored and was just so happy. I couldn’t even think. I was just screaming and yelling. It was amazing.” 

The Longhorns weren’t done scoring. Just over a minute later, Goldstein scored his second goal of the quarter, this time on a shot that hit the top right-hand corner after not taking a shot on goal with the Walton goalie missing. 

“Charlie was incredible,” Hamilton said. “He didn’t shoot on a wide-open cage, and then he hit one top right corner with a goalie in there. That was unbelievable. Shoutout to him and to Hunter Klosterman for pitching a shutout in the second half.” 

With Lambert in full control of the game, they tacked on one last goal from Wehman, a fitting ending to the game for freshman who was responsible for the first goal of the game for the Longhorns. 

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Photo by Kevin O'Brien/Split Second Images