Girls soccer blog: Flowery Branch making its mark in new class

The Flowery Branch girls soccer team, a semifinalist in Class AAAAA the past two seasons, is continuing to have success in its first season since moving down to Class AAAA. 

The Falcons (10-3, 4-0) are in the driver’s seat in rugged Region 7-AAAA after a 4-1 victory over defending state champion Marist last week that put them in sole possession of first place with two region games remaining. 

Freshman Maggie Wadsworth had three goals and an assist in the victory, giving her 22 goals for the season. 

“She’s athletic, and she’s played the game for a long time so she understands it,” Flowery Branch coach Anel Lilic told AccessWDUN in Gainesville. “Her movement is great. … I don’t know that there’s too many people in the state that can keep up with her pace. It’s like she just glides over the pitch when she runs.” 

Flowery Branch moved up to No. 2 in this week’s Score Atlanta rankings, one spot behind St. Pius, which defeated the Falcons on penalty kicks when the teams met in late February, The Falcons are in Charleston, S.C., this weekend for two matches in three days against South Carolina opponents. They opened the road trip Thursday night with a 2-0 victory over Porter Gaud and will face Academic Magnet School at 11 a.m. Saturday. 

Marist fell two spots to No. 4 after the loss to Flowery Branch and has since suffered losses to St. Pius (2-0) and Class AAA No. 1 Westminster (2-1). 

The Falcons can clinch first place in 7-AAAA with victories in their final two region games (both at home), against West Hall on April 12 and sixth-ranked Blessed Trinity on April 16. Blessed Trinity lost to Marist two weeks ago, but a victory by the Titans against Flowery Branch likely would produce a three-way tie for first place. 

*Southern Coast Cup: Brookwood, ranked No. 7 in Class AAAAAAA, will be the only Georgia girls team participating in the Southern Coast Cup this weekend in Foley, Ala. The Southern Coast Cup is the Spring South Central Regional of the High School Cup, a series of regional tournaments that correspond to Top Drawer Soccer’s regions. Brookwood will face Eureka (Mo.) at 10 a.m. local time Friday, McGill-Toolen Catholic (Ala.) at 4 p.m. Friday and Oak Mountain (Ala.) at 8 a.m. Saturday. The tournament was scheduled to begin Thursday, but bad weather and field conditions pushed back the start by a day. Boys teams from Brookwood and LaFayette also will participate. 

*National rankings: Class AAAAAAA Lambert is ranked No. 3 nationally in the USA Today/United Soccer Coaches Super 25 Spring Girls poll, which was released Tuesday. The Longhorns, who moved up three spots, are 13-0 heading into a big matchup Tuesday against North Gwinnett, which is ranked No. 5 in Class AAAAAAA. The only other Georgia team in the top 25 nationally is Parkview, the state’s No. 2 team behind Lambert in the highest class. Georgia teams in the Region II rankings include No. 1 Lambert, No. 5 Parkview, No. 7 Lassiter, No. 9 Johns Creek and No. 10 Harrison. 

*State rankings: The No. 1-ranked teams in Georgia remained the same this week. In addition, to Lambert, St. Pius and Westminster, teams holding on to the top spots include Johns Creek (AAAAAA), McIntosh (AAAAA), Vidalia (AA) and First Presbyterian (A). One of the biggest climbers was Dawson County (10-1-1), which moved up three spots to No. 2 in Class AAA after victories over Greater Atlanta Christian and Lumpkin County that left the Tigers alone in first place in 7-AAA. GAC (8-5-1) dropped one spot after suffering its first region loss.

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