By Steven Watkins
For the Forsyth County News
Adversity is a tried and familiar concept in sports. Regardless of records, schedules, odds or otherwise, every team at every level of competition will inevitably encounter that one particular week that just seems bent on throwing them every curveball possible.
For Lambert’s reigning state champion boys soccer team, this was that week.
Following Monday’s 4-0 win over Baylor and Thursday night’s makeup attempt against Forsyth Central (which was once again postponed due to inclement weather), the Longhorns met their third opponent in five days in a Friday night matchup at North Forsyth.
For a team playing a winless opponent in its third match of the week, the reigning champs looked every bit as fresh as they did in week one, cruising to a 3-0 victory over the Raiders in a match that felt firmly in control from start to finish.
The Longhorns outshot their opponents by a margin of 11-6 and maintained a clear possession advantage throughout the match.
“Coming into tonight, playing another night, I thought we responded really well,” Lambert head coach Chris Wilson said. “That was the challenge for us, seeing three games in five days.”
Given the unusually high number of minutes played by the majority of the roster throughout the week, Wilson’s squad approached the first half with a particular focus in mind.
“The challenge to the starting group was to get us that early lead so we could start rotating bodies,” he said. “The moment you score a goal or two it becomes a little bit more relaxed and controlled. I thought we did that well tonight.”
With just under 20 minutes remaining in the first half, senior Hayden Fontana provided his team that much-needed, early lead.
Following a beautiful cross that sophomore Yeonsung Lee served smack into the middle of the box, Fontana fired a shot past a diving North keeper and found the net for the second time of the half, giving the Longhorns 2-0 lead by halftime.
Senior Thomas Powers added a third goal midway through the second half, faking the opposing keeper with a sharp cut in the box and following it with an easy tap-in.
With a solid lead and the match firmly in control, Wilson used the remaining time to rotate in the entirety of his roster.
“We got to play everybody,” he said. “All 21 players got on the field.”
The Raiders managed an increasing number of outside shots as the match progressed, yet never really seemed to establish any true offensive rhythm. The Longhorns moved to 8-0-0 and 6-0 in region play on the season, while the Raiders fell to 1-7-1 and 1-5.
Lambert girls 5, North Forsyth 0
In the first game, Lambert’s undefeated girls bested their North opponents by a score of 5-0 in an all-around effort. The Longhorns managed an astounding 33 shots on the night, scoring each of their five goals in the first half.
Lambert improved to 10-0-0, 6-0, while North dropped to 1-6-2, 0-5-0.