VALDOSTA -- The Lowndes varsity girls' soccer team fell short of reaching its first-ever Class AAAAAA Final Four. For Brookwood, the Broncos are heading back to the state semifinals following a 4-1 win over Lowndes on Friday night at Lowndes' Martin Stadium.
From the start, the Broncos dominated offensively and the Vikings just couldn't find a way to cool them down.
Vikings head coach Chris Willis gave credit to a Brookwood team that came into the Elite Eight match fresh off a convincing 4-0 road shutout over No. 2 Mill Creek.
"We have nothing to hang our heads down about," Willis said. "We gave it our best shot. They're some fine young women out there. They came and did a great job. They are a very fast team, their give and go's were phenomenal. They truly play well as a team, they came out pretty much on fire."
The Broncos surely did come out on fire.
The Vikings were on their heels early, trying to muffle an offensive surge fueled with a sense of urgency.
The Broncos got on the scoreboard first following midfielder Jenny Allen's goal only minutes into the first half.
Afterward, the momentum somewhat leveled out after a few defensive adjustments from Willis and Lowndes.
Despite repeated on-goal shots toward the end of the first half, the Vikings couldn't convert any and went into second half trailing 1-0.
That's when Lowndes evened it up and watched the game slip away.
It took only 15 seconds into the second half for Lowndes senior Ashley Miller to score on a breakaway to tie the game at 1-1.
The senior's goal was the first the Broncos allowed the entire postseason. It was also the last of the night.
"I think that was quickest we've ever been scored on," Brookwood head coach Jeff Becker said. "I got to give credit to Lowndes. They never back down. I think our girls did a great job refocusing after that."
Bronco midfielder Kim Fincher gave Brookwood a 2-1 lead in the 69th minute when she dribbled coast-to-coast down the sidelines to score a contested goal.
Ten minutes later -- in the 79th minute -- Shannon Maloney extended the slim lead on a close range goal for the Broncos. With just four minutes left in the game, Fiorella Gamarra put the nail in the coffin, securing Brookwood's trip to the state semifinals, with a floater shot that went over the head of senior goalkeeper Allison Liu.
Liu finished her career with a nine-save performance.
"Allison is just amazing," Willis said. "She has kept us in so many games in the last four years. She has been just a warrior out there. The fact that she keeps an 101 GPA, just earned a scholarship from Mercer and UGA. You don't see many like her."
Becker is more than pleased with how his team has handled the road playoff games.
"This one was very difficult," Becker said. "We had two days to make plans. Coming down here for four hours then playing this team in their home stadium, we knew we had to get focused. I think traveling four hours and playing a team as good as Lowndes is very difficult."
Brookwood will be on the road one more time in the state semifinals, when it visits Harrison on Tuesday.