Sophomore forward Julie Johnstonbaugh moves the ball up the sideline against Vermont on Oct. 6, 2016. EVELIN MERCEDES/THE STATESMAN

Vermont had held Stony Brook Women’s Soccer at bay throughout much of the game at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on Thursday.

But in the 66th minute, Stony Brook was set up at the corner. Senior defender Hannah Groth kicked the ball into the fray of athletes in front of the goal, while each jostled into position.

Sophomore forward Julie Johnstonbaugh separated herself from the pack, putting herself in position to head the ball into the goal to give the Seawolves the lead late in the game, setting up a 2-0 victory.

“It’s something we talked about when I got the job, being better at restarts,” Stony Brook head coach Brendan Faherty said. “To score a goal off a corner kick felt great for me and it felt great for the team, because it is something that we do work on a lot.”   

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Senior forward Raven Edwards scored in the 87th minute of the game on a quick pass in front of the goal from senior forward Amy Thompson. The late scoring surge catapulted Stony Brook to its second win in a row. The Seawolves improve their record in America East play to 2-1-0.

Edwards goal in the second half was her team-leading fifth of the season.

“We’re just finally just focusing on our strengths and what we’re good at, and just applying them in the game,” Edwards said. “We don’t focus on the other team anymore and I think that’s what has been the biggest difference.”

Vermont played tough defense to start the game, giving up just one shot attempt to the Seawolves in the entire first half. But the Seawolves remained persistent. The team’s defense consistently disrupted the Catamounts offensive flow. Because of the back line’s strong defensive performance, sophomore goalkeeper Cara Gallagher only needed two saves to compile a shutout.

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“It helped to have our midfielders win balls in the middle,” Groth said. “Anything that did come over to our defense we backed each other up and were able to clear it out.”  

Stony Brook has won two of its first three games in conference play for the first time since 2013. This is a significant sign of improvement under Faherty, after the team began the season 0-3-1. As showcased in today’s game, the players “don’t focus on other teams anymore,” as Faherty put it, and they stick to their system and their strengths.

“This team has rebounded well,” Faherty said. “Hopefully we can start winning some road games, but right now I want the team to feel really good about where we are at.”

Stony Brook will vie for its third conference win in a row on Sunday, when the team plays at UMass Lowell at 4 p.m. The River Hawks lost to the Seawolves, 1-0, in the teams’ meeting last fall.

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