Eagles Ensured Title After Beating Hawks

Fellow seniors Tara Lochmoeller (left) and Julianna Nikodym smile about Lochmoeller just scoring a goal against Valley Park to make the score 4-0. (All photos by Steve Bowman)
Fellow seniors Tara Lochmoeller (left) and Julianna Nikodym smile about Lochmoeller just scoring a goal against Valley Park to make the score 4-0. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

With 1 league game left, BHS alone in 1st

 
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
email: bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

Julianna Nikodym was nervous all day at school on Friday. The senior is a good student but she found it a little hard to concentrate at times. She kept thinking about that night’s soccer game between Brentwood High School, where she’s a starting defender, and Valley Park.

“I really wanted us to win it,” she said, emphasizing the word “really.”

So did senior midfielder Gabby Naumann, who said, “Tonight we wanted it. We had to have this game.”

Gabby Naumann (right) closely covers Valley Park's Jane Smith.
Gabby Naumann (right) closely covers Valley Park’s Taylor Thompson.

Nikodym and her teammates knew they entered the game in sole possession of first place in the South Central AA Conference. Losing to Valley Park would force the Eagles to share the title with Crossroads. Beating Valley Park would almost guarantee Brentwood finishing the regular season alone in first place for the first time since 2012 — and only 12 months since finishing in last place.

But of course the Hawks are no pushovers. They came to town with a 10-7 record and on a five-game win streak that included a victory at Crossroads, the only South Central team that had beaten Brentwood.

With so much at stake, Brentwood played like a team on a mission, winning 5-1. The Eagles will win the title outright unless they lose their final league game on May 11 to Hancock, 3-12, a team they’ve already beaten by seven goals.

Kate Gilmore collides with a Valley Park player in the second half.
Kate Gilmore collides with a Valley Park player in the second half.

“It feels awesome,” said Naumann.

“It was fun tonight,” said Gilmore. “This was the game that our conference title was riding on. We’ve got it but we’ll finish it.”

Said senior Cierra Lucas, “It’s going to be the best feeling ever because it’s my senior year and I’m so excited and it would be so great to end it like that.”

Brentwood closes out the regular season this week, then prepares for the Class 1 District 2 playoffs next week at Principia. As the No. 2 seed, if they beat No. 3 MRH on May 18, they’ll probably face No. 1 Principia on May 19.

Cierra Lucas advances the   ball against Valley Park.
Cierra Lucas advances the ball against Valley Park.

South Central AA Conference
Standings as of May 10
Brentwood 6-1
Crossroads 5-2
Valley Park 4-4
Bayless 3-5
Hancock 0-6

Brentwood head coach Cory Grage shouts instructions in the first half.
Brentwood head coach Cory Grage shouts instructions in the first half.

May 8: won 5-1 vs. Valley Park (10-8)

The game was scoreless for the first 27 minutes, though junior forward Abby Harper repeatedly outran defenders down the right sideline, slanted in and fired shots on goalkeeper Alyssa Haines. At 12:31 before halftime, Harper penetrated the right side once again and booted the ball into the upper right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.

BHS finally got in a groove in the second half, scoring four times within 18 minutes for a 5-0 lead. Harper scored first, then Gilmore six minutes later. The Eagles got quiet for 11 minutes before senior midfielder Tara Lochmoeller scored, followed a minute later by freshman midfielder Amanda Ingersoll.

Lochmoeller’s shot was memorable. She ran straight at Haines and at the last moment, about five yards out, drilled the ball into the right side of the net so hard the goalkeeper never left her feet or even reached for it.

Valley Park finally scored with 6:05 left in the game. Part of Brentwood’s defensive success was junior goalkeeper Audrey Brown making several big saves when Valley Park turned up the heat in the final 18 minutes of the game. Another factor was coach Cory Grage telling senior stopper Lucas at halftime to begin shadowing the Hawks’ leading scorer, forward Taylor Thompson, No. 24.

“It was pretty great shutting down 24,” said Lucas. “Ooo, she was fast but I got her. I was pretty excited because I like following players, it’s easier that way. You don’t have to say, ‘Oh, who should I pick?’ And then they get mad when they can’t turn around.”

Amanda Ingersoll keeps her balance while dribbling the ball through several Valley Park players.
Amanda Ingersoll keeps her balance while dribbling the ball between Valley Park’s Kiyah Autry (left) and Kristen Ballard.

Gilmore, a junior, was happy to score in a sport that she returned to after missing her sophomore year.

“I didn’t play much my freshman year because I was a little tike,” she said. “But then I really regretted quitting my sophomore year. I came back and I’m loving it.”

Nikodym said she thinks the lopsided score reflected her team’s desire.

“I think we just wanted it more,” she said.

Brentwood goals: Harper 2, Lochmoeller, Gilmore, Ingersoll. Assists: Harper, Lochmoeller, Naumann. Winning goalkeeper: Brown, 7 saves. Losing GK: Haines.

Aileen Frazier heads off a Valley Park attack in the first half as goalkeeper Audrey Brown watches.
Aileen Frazier heads off Taylor Thompson’s attack in the first half as goalkeeper Audrey Brown watches.

May 7: won 4-1 vs. University City (6-9)

Brentwood never lost control of the game, as the Lions finally scored with three minutes left. It was the Eagles’ third consecutive win, a far cry from last year when the team won only four games. Harper thinks the younger players are making a huge difference.

“The younger kids are helping out a lot,” she said. “Aileen Frazier has really stepped up. After losing Emma Howe I thought our defense would struggle this year, but she stepped up. Amanda Ingersoll has been a real asset to the team. We work well together and she and Tara do too. She works good with everybody because she knows what she’s doing out there. Her foot skills are crazy; it amazes me every time she has the ball.”

Goals: Ingersoll, Lochmoeller, Gilmore, Harper. Assists: Ingersoll, Lochmoeller. Winning goalkeeper: Brown, 4 saves.

Tara Lochmoeller gets back up after falling with a Valley Park player.
Tara Lochmoeller gets back up after falling with Ailaya Khanthavixay of Valley Park.

May 5: won 2-0 at Bayless (8-12)

Lochmoeller didn’t play. Mishal Azeem scored her first goal of the season.

“It was beautiful,” Naumann said of Azeem’s goal. “She was at the right place at the right moment. We were all screaming. I think she felt like she was unstoppable after that.”

Goals: Harper, Azeem. Assists: Harper, Naumann. Winning goalkeeper: Brown, 8 saves. Losing GK: Stephanie Mathis.

Abby Harper looks to her sideline and smiles after scoring the goal that  put Brentwood ahead of Valley Park 1-0,
Abby Harper looks to her sideline and smiles after scoring the goal that put Brentwood ahead of Valley Park 1-0,

May 4: won 4-1 at Riverview Gardens (5-7)
Goals: Harper 2, Gilmore, Ingersoll. Assists: Harper, Lochmoeller. Winning GK: Brown, 7 saves.

Audrey Brown makes a save in the first half just as teammate Aileen Frazier arrives.
Audrey Brown makes a save in the first half just as teammate Aileen Frazier arrives.

Brentwood’s record 9-3
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 4: won 4-1 at Riverview Gardens
May 5: won 2-0 at Bayless
May 7: won 4-1 vs. University City
May 8: won 5-1 vs. Valley Park

Abby Harper gets in front of Valley Park's defenders.
Abby Harper gets in front of Valley Park’s defenders.

Upcoming
May 11 at Hancock, Heine Meine Field, 4 p.m.
May 13 vs. Hillsboro in Brentwood, 5:30
May 18 vs. MRH at Principia, 6 p.m., district playoffs

Smothering a Valley Park player are (from left) Aileen Frazier, Torri Brotherton and Cierra Lucas.
Smothering a Valley Park player are (from left) Aileen Frazier, Torri Brotherton and Cierra Lucas.
Amanda Ingersoll jumps to settle the ball in the first half.
Amanda Ingersoll jumps to settle the ball in the first half.

BHS’s 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.

Cierra Lucas gets the ball away from a Valley Park player.
Cierra Lucas gets the ball away from Valley Park’s Taylor Thompson (left).
Assistant coach Rob Doebber talks to Abby Harper at halftime of the Valley Park game.
Assistant coach Rob Doebber talks to Abby Harper at halftime of the Valley Park game.
Kate Gilmore follows her kick toward the Valley Park net.
Kate Gilmore follows her kick toward the Valley Park net as Ailaya Khanthavixay follows.
Kate Gilmore (left) gets a hand slap from Julianna Nikodym after scoring to make it 3-0 against Valley Park.
Kate Gilmore (left) gets a hand slap from Julianna Nikodym after scoring to make it 3-0 against Valley Park.
Oni Wright waits for coach Cory Grage's green light to enter the Valley Park game.
Oni Wright waits for coach Cory Grage’s green light to enter the Valley Park game.
Tara Lochmoeller gets one-on-one at close range with Valley Park goalkeeper Jill Smith and pops the ball into the right side of the net to make it 4-0.
Tara Lochmoeller gets one-on-one at close range with Valley Park goalkeeper Jill Smith and pops the ball into the right side of the net to make it 4-0.
Tara Lochmoeller (left) celebrates her goal with Torri Brotherton.
Tara Lochmoeller (left) celebrates her goal with Torri Brotherton.
Brentwood players look tired but happy after beating Valley Park 4-1.
Brentwood players look tired but happy after beating Valley Park 4-1.

Photos from Brentwood’s 4-1 win over University City

Julianna Nikodym thumps the ball in the first half.
Julianna Nikodym thumps the ball past University City’s Hannah Fuller in the first half.
Amanda Ingersoll (left), Kate Gilmore (center) and Madeline Neely jog back to the center of the field after Gilmore scores the first goal of the game.
Amanda Ingersoll (left), Kate Gilmore (center) and Madeline Neely jog back to the center of the field after Gilmore scores the first goal of the game.
Abby Harper (left) tries to settle the ball.
Abby Harper (left) tries to settle the ball in front of Gillian Blount.
Madeline Neely gets the ball away from Brentwood's goal.
Madeline Neely gets the ball away from Brentwood’s goal.
Kelsey Krimmel spars with a University City player.
Kelsey Krimmel (left) spars with Anisa Reynolds in the first half.
Gabby Naumann gets possession in the first half.
Gabby Naumann (left) gets possession from Hannah Fuller in the first half.
Julianna Nikodym waits for a U City player to make her move.
Julianna Nikodym waits for Hannah Fuller to make her move.
Torri Brotherton elbows her way to the ball.
Torri Brotherton elbows her way past Justice Corn to the ball.
Amanda Ingersoll reaches back to get a slap from Julianna Nikodym after Ingersoll scores to make it 3-0 in the first half.
Amanda Ingersoll reaches back to get a slap from Julianna Nikodym after Ingersoll scores to make it 3-0 in the first half.
Speaking to the Eagles at halftime are head coach Cory Grage (left) and assistants Brian Wildgrube (center) and Rob Doebber.
Speaking to the Eagles at halftime are head coach Cory Grage (left) and assistants Brian Wildgrube (center) and Rob Doebber.
Anna Blomstrom kicks the ball away from Brentwood's goal.
Anna Blomstrom clears the ball away from Brentwood’s goal.
Cierra Lucas (left) scraps with a University City player.
Cierra Lucas (left) scraps with Tamia Williams.
Megan Shipley kicks the ball.
Megan Shipley kicks the ball.
Tara Lochmoeller starts to shoot to make the score 4-0 in the second half.
Tara Lochmoeller starts to shoot to make the score 4-0 in the second half as Natalie Featherston (right) watches. University City’s goalkeeper is Fumi Adewale.
Torri Brotherton strips the ball from a Lion.
Torri Brotherton strips the ball from Briana Sanford of the Lions.
Oni Wright makes contact with the ball.
Oni Wright gets ahead of Hannah Fuller in the second half.
Emma Stoverink challenges a U City player.
Emma Stoverink (right) challenges Justice Corn in the second half.
Anna Blomstrom is the last line of defense between U City and goalkeeper Audrey Brown.
Anna Blomstrom is the last line of defense between U City’s Hannah Fuller and goalkeeper Audrey Brown.
Madeline Neely fights for the ball.
Madeline Neely fights for the ball.
Mishal Azeem gets tangled with a Lion in the second half.
Mishal Azeem gets tangled with a Lion in the second half.
Audrey Brown looks for an open midfielder in the second half.
Audrey Brown looks for an open midfielder in the second half.
Madeline Neely poses with her brother Dallas after the game. He played soccer for Brentwood before graduating last year. He just completed his freshman year at the University of Michigan.
Madeline Neely poses with her brother Dallas after the game. He played soccer for Brentwood before graduating last year. He just completed his freshman year at the University of Michigan, where he’s majoring in sport management. Now home for the summer, he’s an intern for the St. Louis Football Club soccer team.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s