Lady Patriots stop Flowery Branch 2-1

CONYERS -- The Heritage girls soccer team vaulted itself to the No. 1 seed in Area 8-AAAA following its 2-1 win over then-Class AAAA No. 6-ranked Flowery Branch and the reigning area champions on Friday.

The Lady Patriots (10-2-1, 6-1), who are currently ranked at No. 6 with Flowery Branch (12-1, 5-1) at No. 8, hit the ground running scoring both goals in the first nine minutes of the game.

The first goal came six minutes into the game on an Arielle Gunderson goal when Ray Brown got loose on a breakaway and the Flowery Branch keeper mishandled the shot.

Three minutes later Kaley Wells served a well-placed corner kick that Kourtney Kelley hammered home to make it 2-0 at halftime.

Courtney Hodges and Laura Zawadzki almost put the game out of reach as Zawadzki's attempt was inches wide of the post late in the first half. Early in the second half, Hodges came close to converting a free kick but the goal was called back.

The Lady Falcons scored with 26 minutes remaining in regulation but the Lady Patriots defense was able to hold on for the win. Heritage keeper Mady Careter kept Flowery Branch from tying the game with six saves.

"I'm glad that we were the first region team to beat (Flowery Branch) since they entered (area) last year. It puts us in first place and we control our destiny," Heritage head coach Chad Suddeth said. "We have a tough Loganville squad on Tuesday. The girls really battled (Friday) on a big stage. Our challenging schedule paid dividends -- proved that we are battle tested. The girls really answered the bell."