With 1 league game left, BHS alone in 1st
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
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.”
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.
“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.
South Central AA Conference
Standings as of May 10
Valley Park 4-4
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.”
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.
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.
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.
May 4: won 4-1 at Riverview Gardens (5-7)
Goals: Harper 2, Gilmore, Ingersoll. Assists: Harper, Lochmoeller. Winning GK: Brown, 7 saves.
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
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
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.