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Soccer: Casperson's goal helps Lambert past Roswell in top-10 clash
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Lambert players swarm sophomore Caroline Casperson after her goal Tuesday during the Longhorns' 1-0 win against Roswell. - photo by David Roberts

One goal was enough Tuesday night, as Caroline Casperson's early goal carried Lambert past Roswell in a battle between two top-10 teams, 1-0.

The Longhorns struck five minutes into the match off a set piece, which saw Lauren Houston find Casperson on a throw-in. Casperson broke through Roswell's defense and snuck the shot inside the right post and past the keeper to give Lambert the early lead.

"It took us a couple minutes for us to get our feet underneath us, but obviously that was our first good chance, I thought," Lambert coach Scott Luthart said. "It came off a throw-in, so it really came out of nothing. She has the ability to hit balls like that. She broke through so fast that the keeper kind of got caught leaning a little bit."

Lambert, ranked No. 3 in Class 7A, posted its second straight shutout and seventh of the season in the win. The Longhorns have conceded only five goals all season.

Roswell, ranked No. 8 in Class 7A, came into the match riding an eight-game winning streak and had surrendered only three goals this year.

"A couple other really good chances in the first half that really could have put this game on ice, I thought, at halftime," Luthart said. "A bit unlucky, but at the same time some resilient defense by them."

The unlucky shot came 12 minutes before halftime, when Emerson Zimmerman took Laney Cassidy's cross and fired a beautiful shot that clanged off the post.

Lambert withstood a barrage of chances late in the second half, as the Hornets fired seven of their 10 shots after halftime, including one inside the final five minutes that forced Longhorns keeper Heidi Harris to climb the ladder, then fell inches from goal. 

Lambert had trouble holding possession and keeping Roswell out of the attacking third late in the match, but still managed to hold a potent Hornets offense off the scoreboard, which hadn't been done since Roswell's first match of the season on Feb. 2.

"I thought we kind of unraveled a bit, I think, to be honest," Luthart said. "They went super high pressure and we had trouble stringing passes together. They're a good team and we knew that coming in. They're going to be physical, they're athletic and they're high-level, elite players as well."

Lambert (9-0-2, 4-0 Region 6-7A) has a pair of non-region matchups against Grovetown and Greenbrier scheduled for this weekend, but the Longhorns will return to region play March 26 against top-ranked West Forsyth.

West handed Lambert its lone loss last year in a shortened season, but the Longhorns retaliated two weeks later in a 2-0 instant classic.

West (9-0, 3-0 Region 6-7A) is outscoring its opponents 56-4 this season.

"Obviously, you've got that game on your calendar," Luthart said. "It's a big one — one of the bigger ones between to in-county teams that we've had in a while. We know they're super, super talented. Obviously, we're not shy in saying we've got some talent as well. It's just setting up for that classic collision course between two teams to really battle it out for a chance to win the region. You'd still have a game after that, but it's got the makings of a fantastic matchup. We know the weapons they have, and that our defense will be tested as much as they ever have. At the same time, I think we've really shown in the last couple weeks that we've really started to find our offense as well."