New faces help make Eagles team to beat in conference
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Brentwood is back.
After finishing last season with a 4-15 record, the Brentwood High School girls soccer team is now 5-1. After going 1-7 in the South Central AA Conference in 2014, dead last in the standings, the Eagles yesterday rose to 4-0, having beaten everybody the first time through.
And they haven’t just won. Including their loss, they’ve outscored opponents 25-6. Remember Crossroads, who last year went 9-0 in the league and outscored the Eagles 8-0 in two games? BHS beat them 5-1 two weeks ago.
“Hopefully we can win out this conference,” said head coach Cory Grage, in his 14th season at BHS. “It’s been a while since we’ve gotten a conference championship.”
Brentwood tied for the league title in 2013 and last won it outright in 2012.
The most obvious difference in the team comes from the new names on the roster, and they’re not all freshmen.
Former first team all-conference selection Tara Lochmoeller, a senior, has returned after missing her entire junior season with a back injury. Now as a center midfielder she leads the team in assists and co-leads as the high scorer.
She was recently chosen by BHS staff, and honored by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as the most outstanding scholar-athlete in the school for 2014-15. It’s a feel-good story as Lochmoeller’s back injury forced her to miss two volleyball seasons and a soccer season.
“I was wearing a back brace so I was bent over for four months,” she said. “Once I took that off I had to get used to standing up straight and sitting in chairs straight.”
Said Grage, “It’s great having her leadership and ability to distribute a ball. She can play from side to side and that’s a nice thing to have.”
Junior starters Kate Gilmore, a forward, and Torri Brotherton, a defender, weren’t on the team last year either. Gilmore is the Eagles’ No. 4 scorer so far.
And then there are the two youngsters. Grage entrusts the crucial sweeper position to sophomore Aileen Frazier. “She’s doing a great job for being a sophomore,” he said.
And teaming up with Lochmoeller at center midfielder is co-leading scorer Amanda Ingersoll, one of the most promising freshmen to wear a Brentwood uniform in recent memory. Against Hancock, on her 15th birthday, Ingersoll scored three goals in the first half.
“It’s a lot of fun, it’s exciting to play,” she said while eating a birthday cupcake on the sideline after the 9-2 victory. ”This is what I’ve been waiting for all year.”
Ingersoll said she started playing soccer “as a little tike” when her family lived in Nixa, Mo. They moved to Brentwood for her third-grade year and she resumed playing soccer in the fifth grade, for St. Mary Magdalen.
“In the seventh grade I started playing select soccer for a club called AC Porta Via,” she said. “My mom was born in Brazil and my dad really likes soccer so it’s a very soccer-influenced family.”
Lochmoeller said she and Ingersoll complement each other in the center midfield.
“I play defensive midfield and Amanda plays offensive, attacking more,” said Lochmoeller. “I usually hang back behind her to get the defensive part of it but we play where we’re balanced out. If she comes back, I go up but if I go up she’ll come back for me.”
Said Grage, “There’s not a whole lot Amanda can’t do. She’s a great player. She moves well. She likes to cover a little too much space and we have to sort of pull her back every now and then. But she’s the total package. She’s going to be great following in Tara’s footprints, doing it all from the center of the field.”
Back and better
Brentwood’s success is also due to continued development of last year’s players. Junior forward Abby Harper co-leads in scoring with six goals.
“She’s really getting down that ability to push the ball across a defender and go to goal,” said Grage.
Junior goalkeeper Audrey Brown is 5-0 and averages almost eight saves a game. Joining her, Frazier and Brotherton on a defense that has surrendered only 1.3 goals a game are seniors Julianna Nikodym, an outside defender, and Cierra Lucas, a stopper.
“Though we lost Emma Howe, who was one of our better players last year, the defense is more solid, especially with Aileen Frazier and Cierra Lucas,” said Grage.
But Grage said the biggest improvement so far has been at midfield. Seniors Madeline Neely and Gabby Naumann are outside midfielders, on either side of Lochmoeller and Ingersoll.
“We’re able to lock down the center of the field,” said Grage. “That’s helping us more than anything else right now.”
It’s too early to tell whether the Eagles are back on par with the four Brentwood teams that each won at least 11 games from 2010 to 2013. But they sure are better than 4-15 right now.
South Central AA Conference
Standings as of April 24
Valley Park 2-3
April 23: 9-2 win vs. Hancock (0-8)
Goals: Ingersoll, three; Harper and Gilmore, two apiece; Lochmoeller and Neely, one apiece; Hancock’s April Turner and Almira Kordic, one apiece. Winning goalkeeper: Brown. Losing GK: Lillian Vaught.
April 21: 3-1 win at Valley Park (5-5)
Goals/assists: Lochmoeller, two, one assist; Harper, one; Valley Park’s Taylor Thompson, one. Winning goalkeeper: Brown, eight saves. Losing goalkeeper: Alyssa Haines, seven saves.
April 15: 2-0 win vs. Metro 0 (9-2)
Goals: Harper and Lochmoeller, one apiece; Naumann, one assist. Winning goalkeeper: Brown, six saves. Losing goalkeeper: Maude Wilkinson, 14 saves.
April 13: 5-1 win at Crossroads (4-6)
The Eagles trailed 1-0 at halftime. Goals/assists: Harper, two goals, one assist; Ingersoll, one goal, one assist; Gilmore, one goal; Lochmoeller, one goal, two assists; Crossroads’ Zoe Kirchoff, one goal. Winning goalkeeper: Brown, 12 saves. Losing goalkeeper: Essence Price, five saves.
April 6: 3-1 win vs. Bayless (6-8)
Brentwood trailed 1-0 at half. Goals/assists: Sydney Moreno, game-winning goal; Ingersoll, one goal, one assist; Lochmoeller, one goal; Bayless’s Marissa Bohan, one goal. Winning goalkeeper: Brown, six saves. Losing goalkeeper: Stephanie Mathis, nine saves.
April 2: 3-2 loss vs. Tower Grove Christian (5-8)
Goals/assists: Ingersoll, Neely, one goal apiece; Lochmoeller, one assist. Winning goalkeeper: Isabel Duchinsky, four saves. Losing goalkeeper: Kelsey Krimmel, four saves.
Brentwood’s record 5-1
April 23: 9-2 win vs. Hancock
April 21: 3-1 win at Valley Park
April 15: 2-0 win vs. Metro
April 13: 5-1 win at Crossroads
April 6: 3-1 win over Bayless
April 2: 3-2 loss vs. Tower Grove Christian
BHS records past 5 seasons
2014: 4-15 overall, 1-7 in conference, last place
2013: 11-7-2, 9-1, tied Crossroads for first place
2012: 13-10, 9-1, first place
2011: 12-8, 6-2, second place behind Crossroads
2010: 14-8, 8-1, first place
BHS’s recent starting lineup
Goalkeeper: Audrey Brown, junior
Sweeper: Aileen Frazier, sophomore
Stopper: Cierra Lucas, senior
Outside defenders: senior Julianna Nikodym, junior Torri Brotherton
Outside midfielders: seniors Gabby Naumann, Madeline Neely
Center midfielders: senior Tara Lochmoeller, freshman Amanda Ingersoll
Forwards: juniors Abby Harper, Kate Gilmore
Other varsity players
Junior Megan Shipley; sophomores Mishal Azeem, Natalie Featherston, Kelsey Krimmel, Sydney Moreno, Mickey Torres and Oni Wright; freshmen Anna Blomstrom and Emma Stoverink.