For the Flowery Branch girls soccer team, the season started out quietly enough.
The Lady Falcons (10-0, 3-0 Region 8-AAAA) were winning games, shutting out their opponents each time, but only hinting at the levels they might eventually reach.
As the season has moved into its second month, however, Flowery Branch has continued to impress. The early run had solidified the Lady Falcons as a contender, not just in their region, but in the entire state.
Over the course of the season, the Lady Falcons, currently ranked No. 6 in Class AAAA, have allowed just a single goal. Starting goalkeeper Lauren Dunn has led the way, recording nine shutouts.
In the month of March, the Lady Falcons have elevated their play to an even higher level, winning five straight and outscoring their opponents at a 47-1 clip. They scored 13 goals in the first five games of the season.
Cassidy Elrod has led the team offensively, scoring 18 of the team’s 60 goals. She has recorded six nights of scoring two or more goals, including four hat tricks. Since being shut out in back-to-back games against West Hall and North Forsyth, Elrod has scored 16 goals, including three consecutive hat tricks against Buford, Clarke Central and Madison County.
The Lady Falcons play at Loganville tonight and Winder-Barrow on Tuesday. They face perhaps their stiffest test on March 23 against No. 7 Heritage-Conyers in a match that could decide the region.
GAINESVILLE GOLF STILL TOPS IN HALL COUNTY: Both girls and boys golf teams at Gainesville held on to their Hall County crowns, winning the Hall County Championships on Tuesday at Royal Lakes.
The boys set a new meet record, shooting 299 as a team to become the first team in meet history to break 300. The previous mark was 302, set by Johnson in 2010. North Hall finished in second for the boys, 18 strokes behind Gainesville.
Starring for the Red Elephants was Parks Brown. He shot back-to-back rounds of 36, finishing with a tournament-best 72, three strokes better than second-place finishers, teammate Grant Lasseter and Flowery Branch’s Eric Little.
The Lady Red Elephants’ Morgan Reece shot a 78 to lead the girls, who finished with a 158 in the tournament, 12 strokes ahead of second-place West Hall.
ZIMMER TOSSES NO-HITTER FOR JACKSON COUNTY: Kolin Zimmer, in just his second start on the mound of the season, blanked Clarke Central across the board last Wednesday in a 1-0 win in Athens. The senior right-hander recorded six strikeouts in the game.
It was Zimmer’s first no-hitter at any level of baseball.
Jackson County (4-3, 0-1 8-AA) plays at Elbert County tonight.
EIGHT AREA TENNIS TEAMS RANKED IN TOP 10: Three girls and five boys teams across the area have started the tennis season strong, ranking in the state’s top 10 in their respective classifications.
On the boys side, Riverside Military (No. 3) and Towns County (T-No. 10) highlight Class A; Buford (No. 6) and Jefferson (No. 9) lead the way in Class AA; and West Hall (No. 5) is tops in Class AAA.
Gainesville and Johnson are ranked No. 7 and No. 8, respectively, in girls Class AAA, and Flowery Branch is ranked No. 4 in Class AAAA.