The Lady War Eagles knew a scoreless first half was unacceptable, and something needed to change.
South Forsyth head coach Tom Braun’s halftime speech did the trick, as his team rattled off a season-best five goals in the second half to defeat West Forsyth 5-1 on Tuesday at War Eagle Stadium. West is now eliminated from postseason contention.
"We just communicated more and connected our passes," South forward Mackenzie Norton said. "We definitely picked up the intensity [in the second half.]
"It feels pretty good [to eliminate West.] The last time we played them, they almost beat us…It definitely feels good to beat them and kick them out."
Lambert holds the edge over South (13-3, 11-2 Region 6-AAAAAA) for the top-seed in the region standings even though both teams have the same region record. Although South has beaten Lambert in both head-to-head matchups, Lambert holds the tie breaker on the point system, which awards two points for a win in regulation and one point for an overtime or penalty kick win.
The playoff seeding will be determined on Friday night when South plays at Chattahoochee and Lambert hosts Johns Creek. Both games will start at 5:55 p.m.
Forward Rachel Shah broke the scoreless drought and put South on top with two goals in the first six minutes of the second half.
Shah beat her defender in the box and fired a shot past the keeper into the bottom left corner of the net for her first goal. Three minutes and twenty seconds later, she kicked the ball to the left side of the net from a few yards away to put South up 2-0.
"We were having a hard time penetrating, and finally one went in in the second half and we got a couple more," Braun said. "It wound up being a good effort."
A West defender forgot to mark midfielder Blakely McDonald and left her wide open for a breakaway goal that sailed past the keeper into the back of the net with 17:49 left on the clock.
Shah nearly had a hat trick, but her shot was blocked by Courtney Baum and bounced back to Tricia Surber, who finished off the scoring opportunity with a close-range goal for South’s fourth goal of the day.
Norton added an insurance goal with 2:22 left in the game when Elena Zang chipped the ball over the defense to allow Norton a one-on-one opportunity with the goalie from about 10 yards out.
"The only thing that changed [from halftime] is that we went off our gameplan," West head coach Peter Valentino said. "The first half it worked, [but] the girls just didn’t follow through what we’ve been practicing yesterday and what we’ve talked about."
The Lady Wolverines’ only goal came from Chloe Tyler off a corner kick from Katlyn Grella in the 64th minute.