Greenbrier's Stephanie Fransoso gets control of the ball during the Class AAAA playoffs against Northgate High School at Greenbrier High's home pitch.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Brooke Weinstein's cannon of a right leg could become key to Greenbrier's postseason hopes.
The junior midfielder blasted a shot from the top of the box to begin the second-half scoring as the Lady Wolfpack pulled away for a 4-0 win over Northgate in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
Stephanie Fransoso also scored two goals, and Amanda Ness added another as the No. 4 Greenbrier improved to 17-1-1. The Lady Wolfpack plays host to the Lee County-Warner Robins winner Tuesday, at a time to be determined.
Greenbrier coach Alex Heider said as his team advances in the postseason, his team will face quicker opponents. And he'd like Weinstein to become more of a deep threat - the team's equivalent to a talented three-point shooter.
"We were talking about, as we get farther into the playoffs, moving her up into another role to allow her to get more of those type shots," Heider said. "We're going to try to use her abilities to hit some bombs."
Against Northgate (11-9-1), the Lady Wolfpack lacked firepower in the first half against a 20 mph wind that made long passes nearly impossible. Throw in the fact Greenbrier opened postseason play without defender Sarah Daniel, who suffered a broken leg April 16.
But in their first game without Daniel, the Lady Wolfpack knocked off rival Lakeside for the region championship.
"It was hard at first," senior captain Whitney Wise said. "It was like starting all over. But we've come together. We're holding our ground."
Greenbrier dominated play in the second half, keeping the ball on the offensive side for most of the 40 minutes. Less than eight minutes in, the Lady Wolfpack finally struck.
From the top of the box, Weinstein's powerful right leg rifled a shot top shelf over goalie Erin Maher's outstretched arms.
"There's not many keepers that would've made that save," Heider said. "I think the ball actually got by (Maher) before she had time to react. It was on her that quick."
Weinstein arguably has the most powerful leg on the team, and she's unsure why her lower body's so strong. She says she doesn't spend her time in the weight room. And her father, Mark, says her talent doesn't come from her parents.
"I guess just natural ability," she said.
"She's got a monster leg," Fransoso added.
The goal served as an ice-breaker for the Greenbrier attack. Just three minutes later, Chelsea Mason clanked a shot off the top of the right post. Weinstein later almost one-hopped a free kick in from midfield before Maher gathered in the shot.
Team leading scorer Fransoso, who entered the contest with 31 goals, was quiet for three-quarters of the game. But with 10:28 remaining, she took a corner kick from Mason and headed it past Maher.
"Me and Chelsea always practice corner kicks," Fransoso said. "We've definitely got that down pat. I just got the ball right and headed it in."
Fransoso and Ness added goals in the game's waning moments to put the game out of reach.
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