West Forsyth held off Lambert to win its fourth consecutive Forsyth Cup, winning 13-10 Tuesday night at home.
Madison Mueller scored six goals despite being hobbled with a brace on her left leg, and Sarah Grady added four goals of her own to pace the Wolverines.
Even though the Forsyth Cup--awarded each year to the team with the best record against county opponents--has become a staple for West head coach John Thompson, this one meant much more.
“Our seniors can all go out and say they've never lost a game to a county team,” Thompson said. “That's pretty flipping awesome.”
The lone senior who had not experienced a county title before was Mueller, who played the first few years of her career at South Forsyth. Unarguably South's top attacker and one of the better players in the state, Mueller still found a way to tie in the moment.
“We all had dinner last night at Moose's house,” Thompson said (Moose is Mueller's nickname). “Everybody got together and they naturally want to do that, and that's something we hope continues in the future, just the atmosphere these girls create.”
West (10-2) defeated North Forsyth 23-4, Pinecrest Academy 24-14, and South 17-7 before getting past the Lady Longhorns to clinch the cup with an undefeated mark. Now the Wolverines, currently ranked No. 13 in the LaxPower.com rankings has five games left on its schedule—three will be against top opponents in Centennial (8-4), Northview (10-4) and Blessed Trinity (11-1).
“It only gets harder from here,” Thompson said.
Lambert made the game tough, nearly turning a 6-1 deficit into a 6-4 score just before halftime, but instead a key penalty shot was blocked by Lauren Ionta and West scored goals with Grady and Kelly Guthrie (two goals) to take an 8-3 lead to the half.
West went up 10-3 before Lambert battled back to make the score 11-8. The Lady Longhorns (7-5)have not lost a game by three or more goals all year, with two of those losses coming by just one goal. That's why head coach Kate Sedgwick is optimistic about her team.
“Our girls just have this fire that if they're down, they just turn it on. They aren't content being down, and that showed tonight,” Sedgwick said. Sedgwick also pointed out the draw controls, which West had a 12-6 advantage on clean plays, as something the team figured out too late.
“It could have been 90-10 ratio wise, but we figured it out. It was just a little too late,” Sedgwick said.
West also used Mueller as a defensive presence on Lambert goalkeeper Morgan Berman, forcing Berman out of her comfort zone after stops where she usually advances up field. That defensive tactic helped the Lady Wolverines fend off rallies. Berman had a night regardless, logging eight stops under the net.
Sammie Caples led the Longhorns in scoring with four goals, while Peyton Smith recorded a hat trick and Shelby Rumer scored twice.