The old adage of ‘defense wins championships’ is something that Lambert coach Scott Luthart hopes holds true as his Lady Longhorns continue to advance in the state tournament with a 1-0 victory over Walton in the Class 7A quarterfinals on Friday.
“That’s how you live to fight another day is to keep the other team off the scoreboard,” Luthart said. “If we continue to keep posting up zeros against, I like our chances of continuing a nice little run (in the state tournament).”
Lambert (18-3) has yet to allow a goal in the state tournament through three games, and Friday’s quarterfinal win was the Lady Longhorns’ 15th shutout of the season, extending its school record.
“We’re just not used to giving up goals,” Luthart said. “If there is one thing we do consistently well, it’s defend.”
Four-year starter and senior captain goalkeeper Jordyn Ebert gives her teammates a lot of credit for the shutout streak, and it was no different against Walton (15-5) as the Raiders were vastly limited in the amount of scoring opportunities they were able to create with most of their plays being broken up by the Lambert defense before they even had a chance to get set up.
“The organization and the players that we have in our defense,” Ebert said. “Some of our best players are in our backline.”
Great defense aside, Lambert still needed at least one goal to win and that goal came just five minutes into the contest when sophomore Ellie Prybylski found freshman Katelyn Castelli after making a run down the far sideline before feeding a cross for Castelli to tap home.
“I’m just glad that I have such great teammates that are able to help us get those goals as a team,” Castelli said.
According to Castelli, it was ‘probably’ the biggest goal she’s scored in her career thus far, and it was enough to push Lambert through to the state semifinals for the second time in three seasons.
Next up for the Longhorns is a home match against Mill Creek on Tuesday with a berth in the state championship game on the line.
There is some familiarity between the two teams as they faced off in a scrimmage before the start of the season. Lambert won the February scrimmage 3-2.
“We’re a whole new team, and I’m sure so are they,” Ebert said of the early scrimmage. “But I think looking at the players they have, we know what they have, we’ve played them before, and I think it gives us a little bit of confidence knowing that we’ve played them in a scrimmage.
“We know how they play. It’s nothing new.”