Lambert’s girls finally found some breathing room in what has always been a tight rivalry series.
The No. 5-ranked Lady Longhorns dominated all aspects of play and defeated West Forsyth 3-0 on a windy Tuesday night at The Horn to regain a share of first place in Region 6-AAAAAA. Although Lambert is 4-0 in the all-time series against West, Tuesday’s game marked the first time that the Lady Longhorns had won by more than a single goal.
"I thought our defense did a really good job of squeezing them in and compacting them and suffocating them a little bit," Lambert head coach Scott Luthart said.
"I wish we’d been a little more efficient with our [scoring] chances, but their goalkeeper is terrific."
Lady Wolverines’ goalkeeper Courtney Baum was active all night in a game where Lambert (5-1, 4-1 region) created 14 shots on goal compared to just three for West (2-5, 2-3), but there wasn’t much she could do to stop a free kick from Heather Lacy in the ninth minute of the game.
Lacy fired a shot from 27 yards away near the middle right side of the field, and the ball sailed up and into the top left corner of the net for what Luthart called the team’s "goal of the year."
"It was still rising and tailing away when it hit the back of the net below the bar," Luthart said. "Courtney was laid out as far as she could get and just couldn’t get a touch on the ball."
Tatum Richey struck again for Lambert in the 19th minute after Baum blocked her first attempt from 15 yards out in the middle of the field. Baum was unable to secure the ball after making the save, and Richey collected the rebound and fired it into the open net from 12 yards away.
West’s first real scoring opportunity didn’t come until the final minute of the first half, when a long free kick narrowly missed getting in under the crossbar.
It was a frustrating performance for the Lady Wolverines following back-to-back wins over North Forsyth and Chattahoochee.
"The girls wanted to win tonight and we didn’t," West head coach Peter Valentino said, "and that’s pretty much all we’ve got to say [about that game]."
Lambert sealed the victory in the 64th minute when Lacy passed the ball down the middle of the field to Richey, who had beaten her defender and sent the ball past Baum for the Lady Horns’ third and final goal.
The victory moved Lambert into a three-way tie for first place in Region 6 with South Forsyth and Johns Creek.
"[It was a] solid effort all the way around," Luthart said. "We’ve had better.
"Overall I don’t think it was one of our prettiest performances."
Lambert will travel to Alpharetta on Friday, while West will host South in another county rivalry matchup. Both games are set for 5:55 p.m.