Rachel Florenz will be the first to tell you it wasn’t the prettiest of the 16 goals she’s scored all season, but it was certainly the most important.
Florenz got just enough on her foot off a cross from Lyndsie Brunner with 7:48 remaining in the game to tap in the winning goal as host No. 6 East Islip defeated No. 11 North Babylon, 1-0, in the first round on the Suffolk AA girls soccer playoffs Monday.
“When I saw Lyndsie line up to kick it, I knew it was going to come right to me,” Florenz said. “It was a perfect ball. It definitely wasn’t my greatest shot but I think I had a little luck.”
Said Brunner, “We look for her because she’s obviously our leading scorer.”
East Islip (10-3-3) will play the winner of No. 3 Deer Park and No. 14 Half Hollow Hills East Thursday. North Babylon finishes 9-6-2 after an injury-plagued year.
East Islip’s Jackie Carty had 12 saves — the majority coming in the first half — as she and the back line of Sarah Iannella, Sara Wright, Giustina Jennosa and Brunner were against the strong gusts of winds to open the match.
“We just had to stay strong,” Carty said, “clear the ball and hope we got a goal in the second half.”
After losing in the first round of the playoffs the previous two seasons, East Islip (10-3-3) felt extra motivation not to fall victim to the same fate.
“I’m friends with some people on North Babylon and I know they were definitely like, ‘Oh we’re going to beat you guys. You guys always lose first round.’ Florenz said. “People were expecting us to lose again but we proved them wrong and I couldn’t be happier.”