Maggie Wadsworth scored a hat trick to lead the Flowery Branch girls soccer team to a 5-1 win over Woodward Academy Friday night in the Class 4A state quarterfinals, but if you blinked, you might have missed it.
Wadsworth scored goals in the first, second and fourth minutes of the match, putting the Lady Falcons up 3-0 just three minutes and five seconds in, stunning the visiting Lady War Eagles and knocking them out of the game practically before it even began. The result sends Flowery Branch on to the semifinals, where it will go on the road to take on Columbus next Tuesday. Match time is still to be determined.
“I think we were in control most of the game,” Lady Falcons coach Anel Lilic said. “It speaks to them, their training and what they’ve done over the season. We hope to continue to get better.”
Lilic said jumping on Woodward Academy early was crucial to his team’s game plan.
It was exactly the type of start Wadsworth was hoping for, although definitely not the one she was expecting.
“I was just as surprised as everyone else,” she said. “Everything just seemed to work out for us.”
She scored her first goal off a feed from Anna Grady into the left side of the box that gave Wadsworth a chance to beat the Lady War Eagles keeper in a one-on-one situation just 15 seconds into the game. The second came from a shot on the right side of the box off the assist from McKenzie Kent.
The third was the easiest to finish, albeit the most pressure-packed.
After the Woodward Academy goalkeeper attempted to call off her defender to make a routine save, the two Lady War Eagles collided with each other, leaving the ball sitting in front of the goal with no one left standing to make a defensive play. Wadsworth collected the loose ball and dribbled it into the back of the net to complete the hat trick.
“Just don’t miss,” she remembered thinking in the moment. “I saw the goal, and I took one extra touch just to make sure it would go in.”
The Lady Falcons reinforced their lead with a penalty from Mollie Langner at the midpoint of the opening half to go up 4-0. Woodward Academy responded with a goal inside the final minute before halftime, but Flowery Branch did not allow the late score to affect the momentum of the game.
“After we conceded right before the half, we just wanted to keep everything tight, not allow chances,” Lilic said. “I don’t think we really did in the second half.”
The Lady Falcons dominated possession of the ball over the final 40 minutes, preventing any sort of movement toward their own goal and keeping the game well under control until the very end.
Rachel Biasi’s goal off the assist from Larsyn Reid put the finishing touches on a performance that has the team brimming with confidence moving on to the next round.
“I think that we have great confidence right now,” Wadsworth said. “I hope that that doesn’t get to our heads at all. But I think we’re pretty confident.”