JOHNS CREEK —Chad McArdle made his first goal of the season one to remember.
The senior midfielder was nearly parallel with the goal on far left side of the box before curving his shot past the keeper and into net. His goal broke an almost 54 minute scoreless drought and helped propel the No. 2-ranked Longhorns soccer team past Johns Creek 2-0 on Tuesday at The Coliseum.
"I just showed for the sideline and then I was getting ready to serve the ball in [the box] and saw the back net open, so I just tried to hit the best shot I could," McArdle said. "[The angle] was really weird. I tried to hit it as far straight [as I could] and it curled at the end. It was a hard angle, but luckily it went in."
The second goal of the game was a little more unconventional. Lambert (8-0, 7-0 Region 6-AAAAAA) pushed the ball deep into the Johns Creek box and found midfielder Cooper Coughlin a few yards away from the goal. The Gladiators’ defense collapsed around Coughlin and forced him to pass back toward the middle of the box, but Johns Creek defender Mitch Webster intercepted the pass but failed to control the ball as it rolled into the goal to make the score 2-0 with 6:13 left in the game.
The Gladiators (5-3, 4-3) never produced a quality shot on goal as keeper Miles Maynard earned a clean sheet. Their best scoring opportunity came in the 59th minute when forward Cole Berry had a clean
look at the goal near the top left side of the box, but fired his shot over the goal.
"We work very, very hard at containing our opponents," Lambert head coach Chris Wilson said. "From our forwards to our midfield and our defense just limiting and trying to predict to make it to where they don’t get good, clean shots off on our goal."
Lambert nearly scored with 12:14 left in the first half as Trexler Bennett took a throw-in from within Johns Creek territory and found Logan Willis for a header, but keeper Alex Chen recorded the save and both teams went into halftime scoreless.
"We did it as a team," Wilson said. "We respect Johns Creek and we know they play hard. …When you respect a team like that you want to go out and play your best against them. I thought we played well from beginning to end. I was shouting at the end to win it to the last second, but we played as a team tonight."
The Longhorns will try to remain undefeated when they host Chattahoochee on Friday at 7:55 p.m.
Lambert (girls) 4, Johns Creek 1
It’s unusual for two top-10 teams to be separated by three goals at the end of a match, but Lambert played at a different level.
Senior forward Tatum Richey recorded a hat-trick and Heather Lacy added a goal of her own as the No. 5-ranked Lady Longhorns easily cruised to a 4-1 victory over No. 7-ranked Johns Creek on Tuesday at The Coliseum. Since losing to South Forsyth on February 26, Lambert has outscored its opponents 10-2.
"Tatum was on fire today," Lambert head coach Scott Luthart said. "Just about everything she touched she finished. She’s that kind of player that can [score] three without even thinking twice in certain games if the space is there. She was lethal. She kind of finished them off for us today, but it wasn’t for a lack of balls that were served to here creatively and quickly."
Johns Creek’s goalkeeper had a difficult time controlling the ball, which led to Richey’s first two goals of the game. Heather Lacy took a free kick from 20 yards out and aimed for the goal, but keeper Anna Cooper failed to control the ball and Richey took the rebound and scored in the 32nd minute. Nearly four minutes later, the same thing occurred. Cooper misplayed the ball and allowed Richey to score her second goal of the game and gave Lambert (7-1, 6-1 Region 6-AAAAAA) a 2-0 lead at halftime.
"…We had some matchup issues [in the first half] just in terms of not letting us get forward and not letting certain people get loose that are used to getting some space to create," Luthart said. "We kind of changed systems a little bit before the end of the half and that’s when things started to click."
The Lady Gladiators (6-2, 6-1) closed the gap to one in the 66th minute as Dani Majkowski poked the ball past keeper Sami Lucas on a rebound attempt.
Richey answered for Lambert just 19 seconds later with a perfectly placed shot at the top right side of the net from 35 yards away to quiet the crowd and extend the lead to 3-1.
"I just saw the space opening up and I knew I could hit it," Richey said. "I just knew we had to come back after they scored so I thought I’d go for it.
"I couldn’t have done it without the support of my [teammates] and just the way we moved was really well. I’ve had a few [three-goal games], but I couldn’t have done it without the players around me; it takes 11 to score."
Lacy added an insurance goal for Lambert with only a few minutes left in the second half with a shot to the right of the keeper to make the score 4-1.