Elite playmakers like Samiya Reid aren’t used as decoys but merely their presence on the field can create opportunities for others.
The Floral Park senior forward entered Wednesday’s girls soccer playoff matchup with 98 varsity goals over five seasons, coach Kevin Pokojny said. She exited the game with that same total, but Lynbrook had to dedicate multiple defenders on her throughout the contest, even if the ball was on the opposite side of the field.
"With her presence, you have to keep three [defenders] back," Pokojny said. "Even when you’re down one goal with 15 minutes left, you have to keep three back otherwise she’s going to go by you in a second. She always has to be accounted for."
And that generates chances for others. Wednesday, Freshman Lauren Black had two goals as host No. 16 Floral Park defeated No. 17 Lynbrook, 2-1, in the first round of the Nassau Class A girls soccer playoffs.
"I feel proud of myself but I’m also proud of my whole team," Black said. "I feel we earned it."
Floral Park (10-1-2) advances to play at No. 1 MacArthur (10-1) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Black scored her first goal off a cross from Avery Meighan less than eight minutes into the game to give Floral Park a 1-0 lead with 32:41 remaining in the opening half.
"It’s always great to score the first goal," Black said. "I think that really changed the team’s mindset and we were ready to just go all out."
She headed in the second goal off a perfectly placed corner kick from Reid with 33:45 remaining in the second half. Gaby Ramirez scored off an assist from Tyla Vuotto with 28:22 remaining in the second half for Lynbrook (8-5-2).
Reid was taking on multiple defenders and drawing fouls throughout the contest, especially late in the second half. The Binghamton commit has 26 goals and 13 assists this season and enjoys seeing her teammates be able to make plays if she’s getting additional defense.
"It draws the [scoring] attention toward other people," Reid said. "I can’t get around five people, so it draws me to play the ball for them and gives them chances to score and opens up paths for them."
And now Floral Park finds itself in familiar territory. The Knights lost, 6-0, to MacArthur in the second round of the playoffs last season. But they only trailed1-0 at halftime in that contest.
"We just have to be confident with ourselves," Reid said. "We can’t go into it with a mindset of we’re going to lose. We have to think positive."