GAINESVILLE — Lambert director of lacrosse Rich Wehman got a chance to see how his reserve players looked Tuesday night.
They didn’t miss a beat.
The No. 1-ranked Longhorns’ offense scored early and often, and the defense earned its second shutout of the season in a 17-0 Area 3-AAAA-A victory over Riverside at McGinnis Field. It was Lambert’s 33rd straight victory, giving the Longhorns the longest active winning streak in the nation.
“I love the way we played today,” Wehman said. “It was all of our backup guys and they executed the game plan perfectly.”
The Longhorns (13-0, 5-0 area) used a patient offense as their primary weapon in the first quarter. Freshman attack Sean Carruthers and junior Mitchell Pearson each scored two early goals, leading Lambert out to a 4-0 advantage in the first quarter. Carruthers finished with four goals.
Sophomore Spencer Wilson closed out the quarter with an open goal three yards away off a pass from Pearson from behind the goal.
Lambert, which has outscored its opponents 177-47 this season, continued its barrage in the second quarter.
One minute into the period, Carruthers picked up a ground ball behind the Riverside goal, sprinted back towards the middle of the Riverside zone, then turned and fired a goal past Eagle’s goalie Nicholas Gasparro.
Three minutes later, junior Ryan Fendt scored. One minute after that, Devin O’Donnell scored off an assist from Pearson. Fendt scored again with 53 seconds remaining to bring the halftime score to 10-0.
Although there was a running clock from that point on, it wasn’t fast enough to keep the Longhorns from continuing to find the net.
In the first five minutes of the third quarter, Lambert scored three more goals — two of them by Fendt — to claim a 13-0 lead. Wilson scored with 10 seconds remaining in the quarter off a pass across the Eagles’ zone from Carruthers, increasing the advantage to 14-0.
Gasparro provided the only highlights for Riverside (2-7-1, 1-6), as he stuffed two shots by Pearson and Kyle Plaugher from just outside the crease to begin the final quarter.
Lambert responded at the 8:42 mark as Wilson ran out from behind the Eagles’ goal and hit Pearson, who charged down the middle of the defense for an easy goal.
Two minutes later, Reid Gill scored his first goal of the season, jumping up and scoring from 30 yards out, sending the Horns’ bench into a frenzy. Nick Topper bounced one in 25 seconds later to close out the scoring.
“They executed what we worked on in practice,” Wehman said.
“We saw some things that we had to fix after the Westminster game, and they executed it perfectly.”
The Longhorns will face one of their toughest tests of the season Saturday, facing McCallie (Tenn.) in the Legacy Cup at Milton High School.
“Our goal is to win another state championship,” Wehman said.
“What we have to keep doing is getting better and get ready for the state playoffs at the end.”