When Amber Lambeth was in fourth grade, she told her mom she wanted to play lacrosse.
At first, Lambeth’s mom didn’t know anything about the sport. But soon Lambeth received two lacrosse sticks from her mom’s best friend, who played lacrosse in college. Her mom quickly went from not knowing what lacrosse was to becoming an essential part of her game.
“I would play in the house with my sister,” the sophomore midfielder said. “And I would make my mom come outside with me and play.”
Lambeth’s mom passed away at the end of her senior year at Souderton Area High School, right before graduation. While her mom is no longer on the sidelines at games, Lambeth continues to play with her in mind.
“Her mom was a huge part in supporting her,” coach Bonnie Rosen said. “And I know every day that she is out on the field it’s also to represent her mom, and that’s a big part of what makes her who she is.”
At the end of her first year at Temple in 2016, Lambeth still hadn’t scored her first college goal. She tallied one assist and played in 11 of the Owls’ 19 games.
Lambeth went into the offseason knowing the team was graduating 12 seniors, including four of the team’s top five scorers.
If she was willing to work for it, there would be an opportunity for her to assume a larger role in 2017.
“I think last year was just a learning year for me,” Lambeth said. “I knew my first game in fall ball of last year that this is a whole other speed, and I wasn’t ready for the speed.”
“I knew I had to put in time because there were really talented freshmen coming in,” she added. “I didn’t take it for granted. I took advantage of it.”
Lambeth focused on improving her speed and her stick skills, and the work paid off. Lambeth started all seven of Temple’s games this season and leads the team with 14 goals.
She has three four-goal games, accomplishing the feat in the Owls’ wins against Rutgers University, Monmouth University and Lafayette College. She also has two assists.
“I didn’t know last year that this year was going to be like this,” Lambeth said.
“She holds herself to a really high standard,” senior attacker Brooke Williams said. “She gets frustrated when she’s not performing the way she wants to. That is something I really appreciate from her as a teammate because it shows the accountability and the leadership piece and that’s something we use a lot every day to make us a better team.”
When Lambeth was a senior captain at Souderton Area High School in 2015, she led her team to the third round in districts. It was the furthest the school had ever been.
She tallied 182 goals and 61 assists in her high school career. She was a first-team Philly region U.S. Lacrosse All-American as a senior.
“Leadership comes naturally to Amber,” said Leah Goodwin, one of Lambeth’s high school teammates. “I grew up playing lacrosse with her and she always led. Amber was someone I could go to on or off the field for advice and I could always rely on her to be honest with me.”
Now, in her sophomore year, Lambeth has once again stepped into a new role of not only starting, but also turning into one of Temple’s biggest threats.
“She’s strong, she’s tough, she’s fast, she’s smart and she’s an all-around hustler on the field,” senior defender Rachel Barile said. “She’s one of our biggest threats attacking.”
But Lambeth is still focused on improving.
“I want to perfect what I have now and work on what I can get better at,” Lambeth said. “And have different options, not just be a one move player.”
Tessa Sayers can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @SayersTessa.