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Lady Falcons fly into second round
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Flowery Branch girls coach Katie Wood talks about the Lady Falcons win over Riverwood.

FLOWERY BRANCH The Flowery Branch girls soccer team seemed to have its priorities in order Friday in the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs against No. 6-ranked Riverwood.

The Lady Falcons (13-5) didn’t seem at all distracted with an early start then a quick turnaround for the school’s prom almost immediately after leaving the soccer pitch.

It was soccer first, dance second.

Now Flowery Branch doesn’t have to worry about needing a handy excuse for not winning on such a crowded night with important plans. The Lady Falcons just need to make preparations for a second round playoff game, after downing the Lady Raiders 2-0 in the playoff opener at Falcons Field.

"I don’t think prom was ever an issue for our team, they wanted to win this game," Flowery Branch coach Katie Wood said, still dripping ice water after the Lady Falcons doused her after winning her first career playoff game as a coach.

Sophomore midfielder Lindsay Porter set the stage for the Lady Falcons’ win after connecting on a pair of goals in the first 17:45 of the second half to break a scoreless tie.

"Lindsay has been scoring crucial goals for us all season," Wood said. "Every time our offense works hard to get her the opportunity to score, and she is able to follow through with it, that just gets everyone on the team pumped up and want to work even harder."

Flowery Branch also got a solid effort from freshman goalie Torey McDowell with five saves in second half to keep the high-powered Riverwood offense scoreless.

Wood said the Lady Falcons’ first-round playoff win was true to form playing their best in the second half.

"We played excellent in the second half," Wood noted. "We thrive on the physical games like we played (Friday)."

The first half was an entirely different story.

The Lady Falcons were flirting with disaster as two Lady Raiders shots on goal rolled wide of the net. Flowery Branch senior Delana Thomas also kept a would-be Riverwood shot out of the net with a save.

Flowery Branch capitalized on the momentum quickly in the second half. Despite having a goal called off due to an offsides penalty at the 37:10 mark in the second half, the Lady Falcons managed to keep the pressure on Riverwood.

Porter scored Flowery Branch’s first goal with 35 minutes left to play on a cross by Brittney Fleeman. The Lady Falcons never seemed to lose control of the momentum from that point forward.

"Getting the first goal was really a good confidence boost for our team," Porter said.

And strong play from McDowell in the net also helped the Lady Falcons down the stretch. Following Porter’s first goal, the Lady Falcons freshman goalie had three clutch saves in a 2:35 span.

Porter scored the last goal of the game with 22:15 to play in the game. McDowell followed with another pair of saves, before being replaced by Angelica Escarte for the remaining five minutes of the game.

With the loss, Riverwood’s season is now complete.

Flowery Branch plays the Oconee County/Sandy Creek winner in the second round on Wednesday.

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