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Flowery Branch girls advance to state quarterfinals
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The Flowery Branch High girls soccer team is saving its best soccer for when it means the most: the playoffs.

Despite the fourth-seed status and a second week of playing on the road, the Lady Falcons (12-7) kept their playoff hopes alive with a 4-2 win against eighth-ranked Grady in the Class AAA state playoffs Tuesday in Atlanta.

With the win, Flowery Branch advances to the state quarterfinals for the first time in the program’s history.

The Lady Falcons improved on last year’s playoff success, where they lost in the second round against Oconee County, a team they beat in the first round this season.

Flowery Branch’s first trip to the quarterfinals came in part to a strong second half, where the Lady Falcons broke a 2-2 tie and outscored Grady 2-0 to secure the historic win.

"We came out a little slow," Flowery Branch coach Katie Scali said, "But we came out with fire and put away two goals in the second half."

The Lady Falcons were led on offense by Joy Smith and Cassidy Elrod, who each scored twice. Brenda Navarro and Lindsay Porter each added two assists.

Flowery Branch’s strong offensive play was far from unmatched by the Lady Grey Knights (10-8), who fired 17 shots on goal.

Despite the high shot count, Grady struggled to figure out freshman goalkeeper Amber Merchant, who made 15 saves in goal to keep Flowery Branch in the game.

The Lady Falcons hit the road again for the quarterfinals, where they visit the winner of Perry and Spalding.

Grady’s season is now complete.

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