The Flowery Branch girls soccer team got off to a quick start in Thursday night’s first-round playoff game against Gilmer, scoring in the first six minutes and never slowing down in a dominant 10-0 victory.
The Lady Falcons will move on to play the winner of Sandy Creek and North Oconee on May 1 in Flowery Branch.
“We played well,” Flowery Branch coach Anel Lilic said. “First round, we were excited and got a lot of players in. Pretty good performance. I’m happy with it.”
Larsyn Reid led the way for the Lady Falcons, scoring a hat trick and making her mark early in the contest.
After forcing a pair of saves with shots in the first five minutes, Reid eventually connected with the first goal of the game. Anna Grady threaded a through ball to senior forward Caroline Wysocki, who crossed it from left to right in front of the goal to Reid for an easy finish.
But Reid was just getting started.
She put away crosses from Grady and McKenzie Kent in the 12th and 20th minutes to finish up her hat trick only halfway through the opening half. Reid said the speed of the Lady Falcons’ front line gave them an advantage in the game, opening her up for her scoring chances.
“Since we’re all really fast, we know we can play each other through and run onto the ball,” she said.
The Flowery Branch offense did not slow down from there, launching shot after shot on goal and forcing the Gilmer goalkeeper into 12 first-half saves, but her efforts were not enough to keep the Lady Falcons from pushing the lead higher.
Barely a minute after Reid’s third goal, she was on the delivering end of a cross that found Kent for an open shot on goal that she made to put Flowery Branch up 4-0. Kent scored again minutes later by cleaning up a shot that rebounded off the hands of the Lady Cats’ goalkeeper.
Wysocki scored twice in the final three minutes of the first half — once off a shot from the top left of the box and once on a header fed in from Rachel Biasi — to give the Lady Falcons a 7-0 advantage going into the halftime break.
Biasi got on the score sheet herself in the second half, scoring in the first three minutes following an individual run down the left side and then putting a shot from distance off the post that bounced off the Gilmer keeper’s back and into the net to make it 9-0 in Flowery Branch’s favor. Ella Reilly finished things up minutes later with a shot into the top left corner of the net to end the game.
Despite the win, Lilic said the team still has plenty to work on, emphasizing the importance of increased intensity in games going forward. After a day off on Saturday, he said the team will be back to work on Sunday as it prepares for a deep playoff run.
“I think starting off, all 32 teams are good teams because they made it to the playoffs,” Lilic said. “We’ll just have to continue and work on ourselves and get better.”