But Current back in 2nd place after loss to Valley Park
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
A week ago the Brentwood High School girls soccer team was on the path to winning its first conference title outright since 2012. The Eagles had beaten every team in the league once, including road wins over their two toughest opponents, Valley Park and Crossroads. In fact, at Crossroads, the defending champion, BHS won 5-1.
But on Tuesday Crossroads showed it has other plans. The Current scored 65 seconds into the game, then held off attack after attack from the Eagles for the rest of the night. They went home with a 1-0 victory and in a tie with BHS for the conference lead.
But last night BHS got some help from Valley Park. The Hawks beat Crossroads 3-2 to knock the Current back down to second place, with a 4-2 record. Crossroads has two league games left, against winless Hancock, so they will probably end up 6-2. Brentwood is 4-1 and still faces Hancock, Valley Park and Bayless. They’ve trounced Hancock but have beaten the other two by only two goals apiece.
So they’re back in first place, but not by much.
After the loss to Crossroads, Brentwood players sounded disgusted about having relinquished a piece of the lead.
“It’s so, so awful,” said senior Julianna Nikodym, with a pained smile on her face.
Said senior Gabby Naumann, “It’s so frustrating. We always want to beat Crossroads; they’re like our rivals. I do not like ties at all.”
Nor does BHS coach Cory Grage, who remembers finishing in last place last year, tying Crossroads for first in 2013 and winning it outright in 2012.
“Though we didn’t come out and show it today, I feel like we have a better overall side, so a tie would stink,” he said. “But at the same time we haven’t had one [a league title] in a long time so a piece of it would be nice, especially after last year.”
Crossroads uses different goalkeeper
How could Crossroads shut out a BHS team it had lost to by four goals two weeks earlier? One factor was that the Current switched its goalkeeper from Essence Price to Kieran Uhlmansiek, who got the shutout.
“We were short several players in that first game,” explained Current coach Ben Birch.
Birch said he also saw a difference in how his players mentally approached the second meeting.
“We just weren’t there in that first game,” he said. “We were up 1-0 at halftime and we just kind of let up and Brentwood had several breakaway goals in the second half. In the second game our players were ready to get back, because they knew they should have done better the first time.”
Naumann made similar comments about Brentwood’s lackluster performance in the first half of Tuesday’s game.
“After that early goal we got down on ourselves,” she said. “But then before the second half we had a good talk from Cory. He said we’re not being ourselves, we know we can win it and it should be 3-1.That just bumped us up. I got a wave of energy.”
Recalled Grage, “I reminded them it was the same score at halftime the last time we played Crossroads. I laid into them for a little bit because I thought they were playing like crap. Then we came out in the second half and played the way we’re able to play.”
Indeed, Brentwood had numerous shots on goal, mostly by Abby Harper, Tara Lochmoeller and Amanda Ingersoll. A few of the attempts sailed wide of the goal but most were stopped by Uhlmansiek.
“We’ve definitely got to work on getting finishes in those situations,” said Grage. “Decision-making in the last couple of touches, who gets the ball, when to play the ball across and when to shoot. We had the opportunities to take the game back but we just didn’t take it.”
Lochmoeller, who leads the Eagles in points for goals/assists, was haunted by a shot she missed with 6 minutes left in the game.
“I was so proud of myself,” she said. “I beat the defenders and then I saw the goalie going more to the left of the goal and I was going to pass it into the right side. My foot was literally like an inch too far off the ground and it hit the ball just above the center of the ball so it didn’t get as much force and started rolling instead of gliding — just a little too slow and the goalie caught it.”
Said Nikodym, “In the second half we really put it all in, and since we were in the same position in the last game against them, we thought we could come around, but we just couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net.”
Brentwood’s goalkeeper Audrey Brown made several saves in the final 10 minutes. She stopped one-on-one shots at 8:07 and at 4:23 that kept the Eagles on the verge of sending the game into overtime.
South Central AA Conference
Standings as of April 30
Valley Park 3-4
April 28: lost 1-0 vs. Crossroads
Goal: Zoe Kirchoff, assist by Elizabeth Birch. Winning goalkeeper: Kieran Uhlmansiek. Losing GK: Audrey Brown.
April 27: 9-0 loss vs. O’Fallon Christian (12-3)
Goals: Carolyn Kutchback 3, Abby King 3, Chloe Hall 2, Madelyn Stiegemeier. Winning goalkeeper: Zoe Wetzel, 6 saves. Losing GK: Brown.
Brentwood’s record 5-3
April 2: lost 3-2 vs. Tower Grove Christian
April 6: won 3-1 vs. Bayless
April 13: won 5-1 at Crossroads
April 15: won 2-0 vs. Metro
April 21: won 3-1 at Valley Park
April 23: won 9-2 vs. Hancock
April 27: lost 9-0 vs. Christian O’Fallon
April 28: lost 1-0 vs. Crossroads
May 1 vs. McCluer North in Brentwood
May 5 at Bayless
May 8 vs. Valley Park in Brentwood
May 11 at Hancock
Brentwood’s conference finishes since 2010
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 outright
2011: 12-8, 6-2, second place behind Crossroads
2010: 14-8, 8-1, first place outright
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.
Photos from the game with O’Fallon Christian . . .