When Lambert and West Forsyth’s girls lacrosse teams faced off on Thursday night, each squad knew they were in for an intense matchup with area implications.
What onlookers might not have expected out of the game was a big lead, as the Wolverines went into halftime up 12-4, with West sophomore Cami Merkel scoring five in the opening period. Still, Lambert didn’t give up that easily, as they made defensive adjustments and scored two goals in the second half’s first five minutes.
“I think it was really important for us to (respond),” Merkel said. “Just because you're up by five or six or seven, that doesn't mean you can give up. They're still going to be physical. They want to beat us as much as we want to beat them. It was important for our team to keep pushing on the pedal and not give up.”
“I think it's really good for our seniors, because we lost (to Lambert) two years ago before I came in as a freshman,” Markel said. “I think it was really important for us to beat them through the physicality of the game. (It was) keeping a clear mindset and playing like we normally play.”The rivalry matchup got chippy at times, especially in the second half, but the Wolverines did enough to hold off any hopes of a Lambert comeback, coming away with a 17-8 victory.
The Longhorns opened scoring with a Gabby Divirgillio goal with 24:42 left in the first half, but West began to own possession by winning most of its draws, scoring on their next five opportunities to make it 5-1.
“They’ve got some girls who can run, man,” Lambert head coach Travis Church said. “They're deep at midfield, and that kind of caught up to us at the start of the game.”
The Wolverines outscored Lambert 7-2 from that point until the halftime horn, and although their offense was clicking, West, a team with some underclassmen starting, wasn’t without its rookie mistakes.
“I think on offense sometimes, we go a little too fast,” West coach John Kiefer said. “We have to learn to slow down and control some of our passes.”
Behind the leadership of seniors Susie Clifton and MaKenzie Boisjolie, Lambert’s defense vastly improved in the second half, only allowing four more West goals for the rest of the game.
“I was really proud of the effort,” Lambert coach Travis Church said. “When you’re down eight goals at halftime you can do one of two things: You can roll over and say, 'Let's go on to the next one,' or you can come back and fight.”
Merkel and Jenna Burrow led the Wolverines with six goals each, and Divirgillio had six for the Longhorns. West improved to 7-0-2 overall and 4-0 in 6-7A Area 6. Lambert fell to 7-5 overall and 1-2 in area play.