It is commonplace for a freshman to feel nervous playing her first Division I game in front of the home crowd. Stony Brook Women’s Soccer freshman midfielder Rachel Florenz was no different in her first game at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium against Iona on Sunday.
“I was honestly so nervous,” Florenz said after the game. “In the locker room I couldn’t stop shaking my legs.” Despite pregame nerves, the freshman began her career as a Seawolf in dramatic fashion, scoring two goals in the first five minutes and ten seconds of the game. The Seawolves added one more goal later in the game, defeating Iona 3-0 to improve their overall record to 1-1.
“I definitely was shocked when I scored the first goal and I was even more shocked when I scored the second,” Florenz said after the game. “I was actually so shocked that I didn’t know how to celebrate, but I improvised.”
The team had three first period goals for the first time since Sept. 19, 2010, in a win over Manhattan.
“We had a lot of people that were involved in the attack so it was good to score early and to score off of a set piece because we talked a lot about the importance of corner kicks,” head coach Brendan Faherty said. “Ray [Florenz] scored two goals on her first two touches, so she was in the right place at the right time on both of them.”
Her first goal came via a well-placed corner kick from senior midfielder Christen Cahill in the second minute of the game.Located at the furthest part of the net from her teammates’ perspective, Florenz leaped in the air to head in her first score of the day.
She later found herself storming downfield in the sixth minute as junior forward Jordyn Klapper was providing a cross to set up Florenz at the top of the box. Florenz then tapped it into the goal just before her defender could intervene, giving her team an early 2-0 lead.
Junior forward Julie Johnstonbaugh helped calm Florenz down before the game, encouraging her to put her best effort forward. Johnstonbaugh scored herself on a penalty kick in the 44th minute, widening Stony Brook’s lead to 3-0 before halftime.
However, the lead was never threatened by the Gaels. Offense was the best defense in Stony Brook’s shutout win as Stony Brook outshot Iona 33-7, dominating possession of the ball which limited Iona’s chances.
“It gave our players a lot of confidence to start the game with a quick goal,” Faherty said. “I think it’s something we can definitely build on and hopefully we can keep the momentum going.”
Stony Brook will travel to New England later in the week as they take on UMass at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, followed by Dartmouth at the same time on Sunday.