Lambert’s girls soccer team used a dominate second half and shutdown defense to defeat Kennesaw Mountain, 7-0, on Tuesday and advance to the quarterfinals of the Class 7A state playoffs.
Junior captain M. E. Craven led the way for the Longhorns with two goals. Her first one came in the 35th minute to open up scoring for Lambert (17-3). That goal was just a dibbler that found her foot, but her second goal was a header in the 37th minute of the second from a Katelyn Castelli corner.
“With her [Craven] being a defender we don’t bring her up a lot, but she is 6-1 so we use her size to help us out on set pieces,” Lambert head coach Scott Luthart said.
Along with Craven, freshman defender Sydney Hennessey also had two goals, both of which were the first and last goals of the second half.
But after Craven’s first goal, the Longhorns struggled to build any momentum. They led just 1-0 at the half.
“After M. E.’s goal we began to lose our intensity, we made mistakes that cost use scoring opportunities,” Luthart said. “If we made those mistakes in the regular season we wouldn’t have won the region”
All that changed in the second half. It took just 34 seconds for Lambert to strike when Ellie Christensen assisted Hennessey to double the Longhorn lead, then Craven scored her header just 1 minute 12 seconds later.
“It was obvious we brought back the fire,” Luthart said. “We’re usually like sharks, when we smell blood we get after it more, but we didn’t do that in the first half. I’m glad we did in the second half.”
Lambert’s powerful offense in the second half made it easier for its defense. The Longhorns maintained possession for well over 60 percent of the match, and every time Kennesaw Mountain gained possession it never got within striking distance.
While Lambert managed 18 shots on goal, the Mustangs had none.
“That game just tied this year's squad with the school for shutouts in a single season,” Luthart said. “And to do it against a playoff caliber team is huge.”