In a battle of the top two teams in the state, Lambert needed to overcome a three-goal deficit to beat Johns Creek 9-8 Saturday afternoon at The Horn.
“I told them it was a great job,” Lambert Director of Lacrosse Rich Wehman said. “We didn’t lose our composure.”
The No. 1 Longhorns (14-2) got off to a sluggish start and found themselves down 4-1 late in the first half.
“We’ve been talking to them all year about the fact that you get in games and sometimes people get momentum from you and you got to find a way to get it back,” Wehman said.
After a 1-1 first quarter, Johns Creek (11-4) scored three goals in just under a five minute span in the second quarter and looked to be in complete control of the contest.
With momentum on the side of Johns Creek, Lambert sophomore attackman Grant Plaugher scored a goal assisted by freshman midfielder Jonny DiVirgilio (two assists) to cut into the Johns Creek lead with 3:06 left in the half.
On the ensuing face-off, junior midfielder and face-off specialist Trey Arnold (one goal, one assist) won the ball to himself and took it all the way down the middle of the field for another Lambert goal.
It was Lambert’s second goal in a span of five seconds.
“It’s just a rush,” Arnold said. “You can’t really explain it. It just happens so fast.”
Arnold dominated the face-off circle for the Longhorns the entire game, winning 90 percent of the face-offs (18-for-20).
“It starts with my dad,” Arnold said. “Me and him go out in the backyard together, but the guys at The Faceoff Academy have taught me the correct technique and have pushed me to be better and better.”
Lambert scored again, following another Arnold face-off win, with 1:05 left in the half on a goal by junior midfielder Matt O’Rourk (two goals) to tie the game at halftime.
In the second half, Lambert and Johns Creek kept alternating goals. Lambert would score to take the lead, but Johns Creek would always respond with a goal of their own to tie things back up. Neither team was able to gain a decisive advantage.
With the scored tied 7-7, senior midfielder Jake Stanford (one goal, one assist) made a run down the near side and ripped a shot far post to give the Longhorns a one-goal lead with 6:37 left.
This time Johns Creek was unable to tie it back up.
Lambert sophomore midfielder Eric Overbay scored an insurance goal with 1:31 remaining, giving the Longhorns’ their first two-goal lead of the contest and proved to be the game-winner.
“I think we played a fairly solid game today,” Wehman said. “We got some things we can still work on, but I think we played a solid game.”
Johns Creek was able to score with 18 seconds left, but another Arnold face-off victory allowed the Longhorns to run out the clock and preserve the win and the No. 1 ranking.
“[The win] really didn’t change anything,” Wehman said. “This was not the Super Bowl and we kept reminding our kinds about that. The state playoffs start in two weeks and it’s one-and-done if you lose so we just kind of took this as another game in the schedule.”