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Prep soccer: Lady Falcons shut out in season finale
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WATKINSVILLE — The Lady Falcons added their name to Oconee County’s list of frustrated offenses Wednesday.

By the end of the game, their defense was frustrated, too.

The No. 12-ranked Flowery Branch girls soccer team lost to the fourth-ranked Lady Warriors 4-0 at Warrior Stadium, ending their season in the second round of the Class AAA playoffs. The Lady Warriors will play Spalding in the quarterfinals.

“I thought we could play with them,” first-year Flowery Branch coach Katie Wood said. “They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect.”

It was the 15th shutout for Oconee County and the fourth goal-less game for the Lady Falcons.

The Lady Warriors scored two goals in the first eight minutes, which left the Lady Falcons scrambling to keep up.

“We just came out a little bit asleep,” Wood said. “They put two on us. It just didn’t go our way today.”

Flowery Branch’s chances at a goal were short-lived and sporadic. They all ended with either a defender clearing the ball or Oconee County’s keeper smothering it.

Because the Lady Falcons couldn’t mount a consistent attack, their defense had to absorb more pressure from a dangerous Oconee County offense.

“I think we had a breakdown with our communication in the back,” senior Delana Thomas said. “That first goal was just devastating.”

The Lady Warriors scored their first goal in the second minute of play. A corner kick ricocheted off a trio heads by the near post of the goal and into the net. The score was ruled an own goal.

Flowery Branch made another costly error seven minutes later when goalie Tori McDowell came out to play a ball near the edge of the goal box.

McDowell couldn’t clear the ball far enough, however, and Oconee County’s Emily Miller lofted a shot of the keeper’s head and it bounced into the goal.

The Lady Warriors built on their 2-0 halftime lead quickly with a goal 30 seconds into the second half and added a fourth midway through the half.

Wood did not think the lop-sided score did her team justice. Thomas felt the same.

“This is the most fun I’ve ever had playing soccer,” she said. “It’s an awesome feeling.”

After reaching the state playoffs last year, Wood set a goal for her team to make it at least one step further. While their season did not end the way they would like, the Lady Falcons could take solace in meeting that goal.

Wood did not think she deserved a heap of credit.

“I feel blessed and I feel really lucky,” she said. “I came in with a good group. The success was all about them.”

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