The Forsyth Central boys soccer team pushed Lambert to the brink, but the Longhorns came out on top 4-3 in penalty kicks after a scoreless 90 minutes at Central on Friday.
“(Central’s) a strong team,” Lambert coach Chris Wilson said. “They’ve got a good coach who’s very organized. He’s got a good bunch of boys who will fight for him, and they showed that tonight.”
Central (5-5-1, 1-4 Region 5-7A) had to fight to keep the game scoreless. The Bulldogs couldn’t muster much offense, only one shot on goal and three corner kicks, but their defense and goalkeeper Juan Gonzalez buckled down to keep the Longhorns (8-2-1, 5-0 Region 5-7A) off the scoresheet.
“(Juan) really stepped up in a game that we really needed,” Central coach Will Gifford said. “There were a number of times (Lambert) really put us under pressure and Juan kept us in the game, a couple times single handedly.
“He was absolutely spectacular tonight.”
Gonzalez made 13 saves in regulation and overtime as well as one save in the penalty shootout, but it could’ve been two.
After the Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in penalty kicks, Gonzalez appeared to stop Lambert’s Trey Hines, but it was ruled that the Central keeper stepped off his line early, giving Lambert’s captain another chance, which he buried into the net.
Lambert goalkeeper Chris Smith made a stop on the next shot, and the Longhorns converted to take a 2-1 lead after two rounds.
Gonzalez made a stop in the third round and Central tied the shootout 2-2, but in the fourth round, Central sailed their shot over the crossbar, opening the door for the Longhorns.
Lambert scored their next two shots to take the 4-3 shootout win.
“It’s a good hurdle to get over,” Wilson said. “Because our track record when it comes to PKs, we lost to Collins Hill this year on PKs so that was a good hurdle to get over for us.
Central girls 4, Lambert 0
The Lady Bulldogs defeated the Lady Longhorns for the first time in school history behind a two-goal performance by Callie Fagan.
The junior opened the scoring 10 minutes into the contest after finding the ball in the middle of a scrum in front of the Lambert net and knocking it home. Her second goal came with 20 minutes remaining in the game on a long lob-shot from outside the box near the far sideline.
Jenna Uldrich scored four minutes later, and Hannah Hamilton added the final goal with less than two minutes left on a rebound from a shot by Uldrich.
“(The girls) believe in themselves and believe in their teammates,” said Central coach Angela Camp about beating Lambert. “They just have really gelled so well together. They’ve taken their weapons, as to say, and just been working hard and knew in their hearts that one day they’ll have their chance and they’re taking full advantage of it.”