Florez, Friends finding offense in time
When Juliane Florez exploded for five goals on Wednesday, it was difficult to determine who was more excited about the accomplishment: Florez, who more than doubled her previous best output? Or the Friends Academy field hockey team, which was simply happy to see a large number on the scoreboard?
Florez, a junior, had a career high in goals and led Friends to a 7-2 win over host Port Washington. Alexa Landow added a goal and two assists, Emily Mara had two assists and Lydia Graham also scored. The Quakers improved to 8-3 in Conference II.
That was certainly a welcome sight for a Friends team that entered averaging 1.8 goals per game this season. Despite the relative success their record indicates, Friends has had to scratch and claw its way through close games.
“We haven’t scored a lot of goals,” Quakers coach Christine Botti said, “but everything just clicked offensively this time.”
Particularly for Florez, who scored four of her goals in the flow of the offense, and another on a penalty stroke in the second half. The feat was even more impressive considering the opponent: Port Washington has been the Nassau Class A runner-up the previous two seasons.
“Everything was working for her,” Botti said. “Her play in the circle was good and her stick was where she needed it to be at the right times. She did everything she needed to do and it worked out. That’s what we ask of our forwards and she did it.”
Friends has struggled offensively, in part, because of injuries to its forward line this season. Chloe Friedman, their second leading scorer last year, has missed most of this season with a concussion. The team is hopeful she can return for the playoffs.
The Quakers are the eight-time defending Nassau Class C champs. And their biggest rival during that run has been Carle Place, whom they lost to 2-0 in the season opener. The teams will square off again Monday in possible prelude to the county finals.
“It was a while ago, our first game out,” Bott said of that loss on Sept. 16. “We weren’t getting shots off or playing smart in the circle. We’re hopeful that [Wednesday’s] momentum continues and carries over into the rematch.”