FLOWERY BRANCH - Flowery Branch's Cassidy Elrod was aggravated when she failed to capitalize on a scoring opportunity in Tuesday's match against Apalachee and vowed to get redemption the next time she was in position to score.
So when Lady Falcons' (8-5, 7-0 Region 8-AAAA) dependable sophomore Alex Lee launched a corner kick off her right foot early in the second half, Elrod knew all she had to do was be in the right position. Lee put the ball right in front of the net, which Elrod headed in to take a 2-0 lead en route to a 4-1 win at Falcons Field.
"That's just the way we work on it in warmups," Elrod said.
"When I kick it, I'm just looking for her head," Lee said.
In the boys' game, Flowery Branch sophomore goal keeper Jonathan Beltran saved six shots in 10 minutes, including a beautiful save on an Apalachee penalty kick, as part of a 3-1 win. Beltran kept Apalachee at bay after four free kicks in the final minutes of the game.
Once the Flowery Branch girls scored its first goal in the second half with a shot in the box from Julia Sienkiewicz, the goals seemed to pile up in its favor. Elrod says that scoring in bunches has been a tendency for the Lady Falcons all year and the reason they are undefeated in Region play with five regular season games remaining.
Only three minutes after the first goal, Lee set up Elrod on the corner kick. The ball floated off Lee's foot and positioned in front of the net where only Elrod had a chance at it.
"Alex has a great leg and real strong foot," Lady Falcons coach Katie Scali said. "She has great placement on the ball."
Flowery Branch went ahead 3-0 when Jenn Moreno made a sprint past the nearest defender in pursuit of the ball and put it in the back of the net. Megan Kirk scored Flowery Branch's fourth goal, which ricocheted off the goalie's head and the cross bar and into the net.
The Lady Falcons also put forth a great defensive effort, holding Apalachee without a shot on goal for the first 30 minutes of the second half. Apalachee's lone goal came from Michelle Miller with four minutes remaining.
After playing the first five minutes of the game on Apalachee's side of the field, Flowery Branch turned on the pressure and made some nice passes to regain control. A Flowery Branch goal was waved off for an offsides call in the 13th minute. After that, Elrod and Kayla Robles had clear passes that were not played cleanly by the intended target near the net.
Also late in the opening half, Apalachee had a pair of shots that sailed just wide of the goal. Flowery Branch plays host to North Forsyth at 7:30 tonight.
FLOWERY BRANCH BOYS 3, APALACHEE 1: The second half became very physical with seven yellow cards, four against Flowery Branch (4-7-2, 3-4 Region 8-AAAA). That's when Beltran stepped up and made all the right moves, save a goal by Apalachee's Christian Vasquez to draw within one goal with 18 minutes remaining in the game.
Leading 2-1, Flowery Branch's Michael Smith stepped up with the game's final goal and only 6 minutes remaining. Flowery Branch coach Jeremy Purdy says that Beltran has played well since coming in and recording a shutout in his first start of the season against Mill Creek, a scoreless draw.
"When he was playing junior varsity early in the season, I told him to be patient and his time would come," Purdy said. "He's played really well for us out there."
The Falcons started the game strong with a goal from Thomas Davis in only the third minute. Apalachee had a chance to tie the score, but a shot went off the goal post late in the first half.
Right before halftime, Erly Acosta scored for Flowery Branch to take a 2-0 lead. The Falcons play host to North Forsyth at 5:30 p.m. today.