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Buford girls stroll past Oconee County 5-0 in 2nd round of soccer playoffs
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BUFORD — After starting slow offensively against Decatur in the first round, the Buford Lady Wolves made sure Tuesday night that they attacked, and turned opportunities into goals.

The Lady Wolves (18-0) extended their winning streak with a decisive 5-0 victory over the No. 2 seed from Region 8-AAA Oconee County Lady Warriors (11-8-1) Tuesday night in the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs.

The No. 1 seed Lady Wolves from Region 7-AAA will face Savannah Arts, a 10-0 winner against Jackson, in the third round Friday in Savannah.

“We’re super excited to be in the elite eight,” Buford head coach Crystal Fowler said. “Just keep going; keep moving through and try not to get too far ahead of ourselves.”

The Lady Wolves’ offense scored all five goals in the first half. Fowler said the offensive production attributes to the team’s confidence, which is a big part of what makes her team successful.

“It’s huge as far as giving those girls confidence in themselves,” she said. “They score goals, and you can see their whole mentality and the whole way that they are playing change. They start playing better.

“As we’re able to get (goals) and as we’re able to work together and get it together, it’s really important. You can’t replace that, just for everything (confidence) does for them.”

The Lady Wolves’ offense was led by freshmen Brie Smith, who scored a game-high two goals.

“It was a really big win,” Smith said. “I think all together we played very well. I mean, there’s definitely some things we can improve on, but overall our team’s really connected, and we have a lot of bonds.

Less than two minutes into play, sophomore Brooke Horist connected with junior Ceely Coker from midfield, and Coker found the back of the net to give the Lady Wolves a fast 1-0 lead.

Coker finished the game with the goal and two assists.

Then, with 20 minutes left in the first half, a corner kick from Junior Tara Dambach was headed through by senior Ann Schmidt to give the Lady Wolves a 2-0 lead.

Four minutes later, Coker found Smith right in front of the goal for the Lady Wolves third goal in less than 25 minutes.

Coker assisted another freshmen on the Lady Wolves’ fourth goal, as Elexa Bahr knocked it through for a 4-0 lead with just over eight minutes to play.

The Lady Wolves’ final goal came from Smith, who booted it through, after it was deflected off a player whose back was to her.

“The second one I think was just a reflex,” Smith said. “I saw the ball and just put it in.”

The Lady Wolves’ defense came up big again, allowing the Lady Warriors’ offense only two shots on goal. They allowed no shots on goal last week against Decatur last week. For the entire year, the Lady Wolves’ defense has given up only four goals, with the most being two by Decatur in their regular-season game.