Everything Flowery Branch’s girls saw from McIntosh came at a rapid pace in Tuesday’s state semifinal soccer match. The Lady Chiefs were fast to 50-50 balls in the open field, quick on passes and decisive with shots to the back of the net.
“(McIntosh) was quick with everything,” Flowery Branch coach Katie Scali said. “And not just running, quick with their feet.”
The Lady Chiefs scored back-to-back goals midway through the first half and led by four at halftime en route to a 5-2 win in Flowery Branch. Despite the loss, Scali said it was a tremendous season for a program likely not even eyeing a run to the state semifinals in Class 5A.
However, the Lady Falcons (13-7-1) got hot early in the postseason and rolled to their first state semifinal appearance in program history. Flowery Branch made it exciting in the playoffs, capturing a quarterfinal victory in sudden death penalty kicks against Starr’s Mill last week.
“I’m really proud of our team for the season they had,” said Scali. “I don’t know if very many girls on this team thought we would make it this far in the postseason.”
One of the other memorable moments in the 2017 postseason for the Lady Falcons was the 9-0 blowout of Dutchtown in the second round.
However, the fundamentally sound play of McIntosh (14-6-2) proved too much for Flowery Branch in the semifinals.
McIntosh’s Taylor Malasek put through a nifty crossover between a defender and Flowery Branch’s goal keeper to make it a 4-0 game, just five minutes before halftime. The Lady Chiefs had 14 shots on the goal in the first half, 25 for the game.
Lady Falcons keeper Kelsey Mathis, a senior, did her part to keep it close with 16 saves.
Despite the slow start, Flowery Branch kept battling in the second half, which was pleasing to Scali.
Glorismel Chavez had the Lady Falcons’ first shot on goal for the game and found the back of the net in the 67th minute, followed by a goal by Caroline Wysocki three minutes later. The pair of Flowery Branch goals were the first surrendered by McIntosh during the entire postseason, after winning its first three playoff games by a combined 18-0 margin.
“I was so proud of how the girls kept battling when we got down,” Scali said. “That was very good to see.”
Malasek punched in her first goal for McIntosh when she found a long pass in the open field and found the back of the net, making it 3-0 in the 23rd minute. Tariah Miller scored first for McIntosh, booting it in off a throw-in in the sixth minute.
Miller added a pair of assists for the Lady Chiefs.
McIntosh faces the Buford/Whitewater winner for the state championship at 5 p.m. Friday at Five Star Stadium in Macon.