Sporting a large knee brace on her left leg following a preseason knee injury, senior midfielder Amy Thompson stepped on the field for Stony Brook for the first time on Sept. 16 against Delaware, looking to make an impact on the offensive end of the field.
In the second minute of the second overtime, Thompson got her chance, as she received a pass in front of the net from sophomore forward Julie Johnstonbaugh and knocked it in past the goalie for the Seawolves as they won the game, 2-1. Thompson celebrated with a jumping fist pump, now a trademark of her goals, having scored the game-winner.
“I was just full of emotions,” Thompson said. “Whether it was just joy, frustration, like everything just came up from the past few months, like getting injured, so I was full of mixed emotion, but mostly joy.”
Since entering the lineup for the Seawolves that game, Thompson has scored five goals to go along with four assists, culminating in an All America East Second Team, despite only playing in 11 of the team’s 19 games.
Head coach Brendan Faherty believed that Thompson, a Luxembourg native, would make a serious impact on the field.
“We expected Amy to have a big season,” he said. “So it’s not unexpected.”
Despite the big goal against Delaware, Thompson and Stony Brook struggled over the next three games, losing two of them, including a 4-0 loss in the conference season opener against Albany on the road.
The turning point of the season came when Faherty made the decision to switch Thompson from the ten position, a term used to refer to the central attacking midfielder position, to the nine, a position which would allow her to operate behind the defense more and have more control over the ball.
“Amy’s a very technical player,” Faherty said. “She has a high soccer IQ, so she’s good with the ball. At times I’d actually like to see her hold the ball a little bit more.”
The move made a big difference as Thompson broke out in the next game. She scored two goals in a home win against the Binghamton, the first of a six-game winning streak, all against conference opponents, in which the offense scored 14 total goals.
By comparison, in the eight games without Thompson in the lineup due to injury, the team only scored four goals.
“I used to get the ball a bit further back, and I’d still have to pass through two lines of their midfield and their defense,” Thompson said. “I think now, I get the ball in an area where I only have the defense left or I’m in behind the defense and I’m only up against the goalie. I think that’s been a big factor.”
Thompson’s offensive capabilities have made the game come easier for her teammates.
“Amy and I kind of know each other and how we play, and she makes it easier to find me,” Johnstonbaugh said.
Whenever Thompson or Johnstonbaugh score a goal off a pass from the other, they refer to it as “the roommate connection,” a reference to their shared residency. That connection has been made three times this season.
The team feels a sense of calmness when Thompson has the ball on her feet.
“I think, just the ball moves quicker,” Johnstonbaugh said. “I think it totally ups our speed of play.”
Faherty echoed Johnstonbaugh’s sentiments: “Amy’s comfortable on the ball. … We’re trying to get her to be as calm on the ball as possible and to keep the ball a little bit longer because the longer she keeps it, the more it opens things up for other players.”