By Josh Holland
For the Forsyth County News
With five minutes left in the first half of Friday night’s girls soccer game between Lambert and Forsyth Central, it was still either side’s game for the taking. But the Longhorns’ Madison Haugen soon propelled the Longhorns into the lead when she found herself in a one-on-one situation with the opposing keeper and struck the ball into the opposite corner of the goal which gave the Longhorns a slim lead at halftime.
That gave Lambert a lead that the Longhorns held for the rest of the game, Haugen scored another in the second half to secure a 2-0 win and lock up the Region 5-7A title for Lambert, another milestone in what has been a historically dominant season for the Longhorns.
“That’s a feather in our cap,” Longhorns head coach Scott Luthart said. “Obviously, that’s something we’re very proud of. These girls work extremely hard every day so what they do may look easy to people, but they don’t see these girls work an hour and a half three days a week or more to get this kind of connection during the game.”
From kickoff, both sides were getting forward and creating chances, although Lambert had a slight edge in each of these categories. Haugen’s second goal was put on a plate for her thanks to an excellent cross from the right side of the field that allowed her to tap it in.
Throughout the game, Central were defending for their lives at the back and had luck on their side, as three of Lambert’s shots were denied by the post. The Bulldogs were able to counter frequently after these spells in defense, but after a quick build up they could never convert.
Even though the win wasn’t as large as Lambert are accustomed to, they still managed to clinch the region title which thrilled coach Scott Luthart following the game. After praising his side Luthart didn’t let the improved Central side go unacknowledged after the region champs had beaten them 4-0 earlier in the year.
“I thought Central were fantastic tonight,” Luthart said. “The last time we played them, I thought we were clearly the better team and I think that showed in the final result. Today they made us work a lot harder for it, created some chances. They were dangerous, so that’s a good win against a good team.”
Lambert continued their undefeated season, moving to 15-0-0 overall and 9-0 in region play. Central fell to 8-7-0, 4-6, but are still in a decent position to make the playoffs.
Lambert boys 2, Forsyth Central 0
Lambert dominated the first half with a goal apiece from Thomas Powers and Hayden Fontana. The opener from Powers was a rocket into the far side netting that left the entire Central defense rooted to the spot.
Fontana’s finish was less spectacular, but was made much easier after a through ball split the Bulldog defense in half and gifted the striker with an easy finish which he knocked off the post before it went into the back of the net. This doubled Lambert’s lead with nine minutes left in the first half.
In the second half, Lambert’s dominance stalled and they were unable to score, but still managed to keep the opposition from getting close to the back of the net, except for a late shot from Daniel Martin that forced a diving save with two minutes left in the game.
The game finished 2-0 and the Longhorns advanced to 9-0 in the region. Central picked up their fourth loss in the region, bringing their record to 6-4 in region play.