For the Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/03/08
LaGrange stayed with host Flowery Branch for nearly 78 minutes, but it wasn't quite enough Friday night.
Kyle Ellis broke the scoreless deadlock with 2:05 left in the contest when he took a crossing pass from Alex Jovel in front of the goal, juked right and slid a shot in past Grangers goalkeeper Donnie Palmer from 10 yards out for a 1-0 win and a berth in the AAA soccer semifinals.
Jovel's pass came in from the left side to Ellis, who was positioned in front of the goal about 15 yards out. Ellis took the pass, drew Palmer out, then moved left and took the winning shot in the center of the net.
Flowery Branch coach Jeremy Purdy's halftime words to his players turned out to be prophetic.
"This is going to be a fight to the end," he told his team at halftime with the Falcons locked in a 0-0 tie with LaGrange (15-5-2). "We've got to push it in."
Flowery Branch (18-1-1) attacked the goal all night, but the Grangers proved that they were up to the task, turning the Falcons back time after time. Palmer made several diving saves and came out of the goal time and time again to thwart the Falcons.
But it was his aggressiveness that opened the door for Ellis and Flowery Branch.
"We knew from our scouting that he likes to come out of the goal," Purdy said, "and we went over a couple of things that we could to do to tweak our attack so we could get around the goalkeeper, play it softly and take it in."
LaGrange had its opportunities, getting several shots on goal, but the Grangers were unable to convert.
Flowery Branch was able to kill the clock after Ellis' goal, sealing the win and a berth in the final four.
"The forwards made it happen," Ellis said.
"We had been working the throughball all night, and Alex just made a great pass. I made a move to the side and was able to push it in."
From the Saturday, 5/3, edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The photo is mine.