Lambert boys varsity struck for three second-half goals in ten minutes Wednesday to defeat the Collins Hill Eagles, 3-0. With the victory, the Longhorns (18-1-0) moved into the quarterfinals of the Georgia Class 7A high school championships.
This was a pulsating, end-to-end match, played before the largest crowd of the season at the Horn. The crowd included a large number of Eagles’ fans, who made their way across the Chattahoochee from Gwinnett County to cheer on their team.
Both teams had scoring chances in the first half. Lambert striker Hayden Fontana burst in on goal on a breakaway just seven minutes into the match, but the Eagles’ keeper made the save. The speedy Collins Hill (15-4-0) offense also threatened the ‘Horns’ goal but Lambert’s stout defense, anchored by senior Jay Patterson and junior Harry Maughan, held them off.
At the half, the battle between the state’s #1 (Lambert) and #4-ranked (Collins Hill) teams remained 0-0.
The pivotal second half was “KT time”, as in Lambert forwards Kyler Darsey and Tyler Nadiak.
Senior Darsey, a recent recipient of the Lambert Soccer Coach’s Award, blasted the Longhorns into a 1-0 lead with 27 minutes to go. Darsey took a pass to the keeper’s left, then zipped a shot across his body from eight yards out and into the back of the net.
The crowd exploded and the Longhorns reloaded. Just three minutes later, Darsey struck again. A corner kick came down on the foot of striker Hayden Fontana to the left of the Eagles’ goal. Fontana popped the ball to Darsey, who deftly headed it into a yawning goal. 2-0, Longhorns.
The Eagles sagged, unable to keep up the rapid pace they’d shown in the first half. Then, with only 17 minutes remaining. Hayden Fontana blistered a shot off the crossbar. Rushing in for the rebound, forward Nadiak fired it home, giving the ‘Horns a commanding 3-0 lead.
From that point on, the Longhorns tenaciously played defense, fending off a desperate, last-ditch Collins Hill attack.
A shot off the crossbar was as close as the Eagles would come to getting back in the match. Lambert closed ranks and closed out the match, notching their second shutout of the playoffs. and 14th shutout of the season. LAMBERT 3, COLLINS HILL 0.
Next Wednesday, May 8, the Longhorns host #2-ranked Hillgrove (19-1-0) in the state Class 7A quarterfinal match . It promises to be one of the most eagerly anticipated home matches in recent Lambert soccer history. The Hawks, of Cobb County, advanced to the quarterfinals with a 3-1 win last week over Walton.
Both teams have dominated their opponents this season. Lambert has outscored its opponents 58-5, with 14 shutouts. Hillgrove has outscored its opponents 60-16, with 10 shutouts.
Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Horn. The boys’ match follows the undefeated (!) Lambert girls’ playoff quarterfinal, also against Hillgrove, at 6 p.m. Tickets will be sold for $10 at the gate, and will provide admission for both matches. No free passes are honored for state tournament games.
Please join us IN LARGE NUMBERS and support our teams as they continue their quests for the Georgia state 7A high school championship! HOOK ‘EM!!
SECOND ROUND PLAYOFFS RESULTS FOR CLASS 7A REGION 5:
LAMBERT 3, COLLINS HILL 0
MILTON 2, NORCROSS 0
LAKESIDE-DEKALB 3, FORSYTH CENTRAL 0
MEADOW CREEK 4, SOUTH FORSYTH 2
NEWSPAPER STORIES ON THE LAMBERT-COLLINS HILL GAME:
Gwinnett Daily Post