Soccer Girls 7-0 for First Time in 13 Years

Head coach Cory Grage explains an offensive drill to his team during April 14 practice at Brentwood High School.
Head coach Cory Grage explains an offensive drill to players during April 14 practice at Brentwood High School. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

Eagles win shootout with Hancock; Crossroads looms

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

The Brentwood High School girls soccer program is 7-0 for the first time in 13 years.

Despite having five freshmen in the starting lineup, the Eagles have outscored opponents 29-4. They’re 3-0 in the conference but haven’t yet played Crossroads, their only league loss in 2015.

“We had a pretty solid team last year and we knew we had some talent coming up,” said assistant coach Brian Wildgrube. “We didn’t know we’d be this good right away, but these conference games have just been played really well.”

The last time a BHS girls soccer team was 7-0 was in 2003. That team didn’t lose until its 10th game and ended up 18-2. It was coached by current head coach Cory Grage and team captains were Meredith Kurtz, Karly Kurtz and Charlotte Mann. Another team member was Janie Hayward, who is now the field hockey coach at BHS.

Assistant coach Brian Wildgrube plays goalkeeper in practice.
Assistant coach Brian Wildgrube plays goalkeeper in practice.

Handling adversity

The Eagles haven’t beaten anybody great yet, and only two of the teams they’ve defeated have winning records, but they’re showing signs of being a winner. Overcoming adversity, for instance. When goalkeeper Logan Darrow showed concussion symptoms after a collision in game 3, at Orchard Farm, Rachel Walthall stepped in and made two big saves in the final five minutes to preserve the 2-1 victory. Walthall then posted three shutouts over four days, including a 1-0 nail-biter at Bayless.

Asked if she was nervous about being thrust into the spotlight, about being a freshman suddenly moved to starting goalie, a position she hasn’t played since CYC, and then even as a backup to Darrow, she replied, “Yeah. I was very nervous, but I have the support of my team.”

Freshman Rachel Walthall has been playing goalkeeper.
Freshman Rachel Walthall has been playing goalkeeper.
Logan Darrow in practice several weeks ago.
Logan Darrow in practice several weeks ago.

Harper’s PK beats Hancock

The game that has impressed assistant coach Rob Doebber the most so far is the 3-2 win over Hancock in overtime. The Eagles trailed 1-0 then led 2-1 before the Tigers tied it late. After two scoreless OT periods, BHS won in a penalty kick shootout. Darrow stopped the first PK and the rest of Hancock’s attempts flew over the net. Senior forward Abby Harper scored the winning kick.

“It was a hard fought game,” said Doebber. “The field wasn’t in the best condition so there were a lot of bad bounces.”

Abby Harper's final penalty kick in overtime beat Hancock.
Senior forward Abby Harper.
Assistant coach Rob Doebber.
Assistant coach Rob Doebber.

Kate and Abby

Young as the team is, it’s run by two seniors up front in forwards Kate Gilmore and Harper, who have combined for 11 goals and 12 assists. Gilmore has eight of the assists, with her most familiar target being Harper.

“I always know that Abby is going to be on that rear post,” said Gilmore, “so if I cross the ball over I know she’ll finish it.”

Another attacker from last year is sophomore Amanda Ingersoll, who has six goals.

Senior forward Kate Gilmore.
Senior forward Kate Gilmore.
Sophomore midfielder Amanda Ingersoll.
Sophomore midfielder Amanda Ingersoll.

Fab freshmen

Freshmen have scored 10 of Brentwood’s 29 goals. Maddie Dorenbusch has five, Elle Curran three and Maggie Callihan two. The other two starters are Meghan Haug and either Darrow or Rachel Walthall. Also getting playing time are Mackenzie Baum, Caroline Bender and Rebecca Walthall.

“The freshmen are just making a huge impact,” said Doebber. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a freshman class this strong. Not since I’ve been here.”

Maddie Dorenbusch.
Freshman midfielder Maddie Dorenbusch.
Freshman midfielder Elle Curran.
Freshman midfielder Elle Curran.
Freshman stopper Maggie Callihan.
Freshman stopper Maggie Callihan.

One key to the freshmen’s ability to contribute is that so many of them have proven themselves in other varsity sports.

“A lot of us played volleyball together on the varsity team, so we have that connection,” Gilmore said. “We’re able to rely on each other in the sense that, if we pass the ball we know we’re going to get there. There’s a lot of trust on the team.”

“The 15 freshmen definitely help,” said Ingersoll, smiling at her exaggeration. “It doesn’t feel too different from last year, because of how close the freshmen are — they work really well together. We’ve created a close chemistry.”

Said Gilmore, “I’m kind of upset that I only get to play with them one year.”

Senior midfielder Megan Shipley (left) and freshman Rebecca Walthall.
Senior defender Megan Shipley (left) and freshman Rebecca Walthall.

April 12: 3-2 win at Hancock (5-3)
The Eagles led 2-1 at halftime. Brentwood: Dorenbusch, 1 goal; Ingersoll, 1 goal; Gilmore, 1 assist; Darrow, winning GK, 8 saves. Hancock: Jocelyn Weldon, 2 goals; Adrienne Compton, 1 assist; Samra Nisic, 1 assist; Lillian Vaught, losing GK, 15 saves.

Senior defender Torri Brotherton.
Senior defender Torri Brotherton.

April 7: 4-0 win at Gateway STEM
Brentwood led 2-0 at halftime. Brentwood: Dorenbusch, 2 goals; Gabby Gombas, 1 goal; Ingersoll, 1 goal; Gilmore, 2 assists; Rachel Walthall, winning GK, 5 saves.

Sophomore midfielder Gabby Gombas.
Sophomore midfielder Gabby Gombas.

April 6: 5-0 win at Metro (4-2)
Brentwood led 2-0 at halftime. Brentwood: Gilmore, 1 goal, 2 assists; Harper, 1 goal, 2 assists; Ingersoll, 1 goal, 1 assist; Curran, 1 goal; Dorenbusch, 1 goal; Rachel Walthall, winning GK, 5 saves. Metro: Ena Kovac, losing GK, 18 saves.

Junior sweeper Aileen Frazier.
Junior sweeper Aileen Frazier.

April 4: 1-0 win at Bayless (2-8-1)
The Eagles scored in the second half. Brentwood: Ingersoll, 1 goal; Rachel Walthall, winning GK, 9 saves. Bayless: Stephanie Mathes, losing GK, 11 saves.

Freshman defender Meghan Haug (left) and sweeper Maggie Callihan.
Freshmen defender Meghan Haug (left) and stopper Maggie Callihan.

April 1: 2-1 win vs. Orchard Farm (3-5)
The Eagles never trailed. Brentwood: Harper, 1 goal; Ingersoll, 1 goal; Gilmore, 1 assist; Darrow, winning GK, 75 minutes, 12 saves; Rachel Walthall, 5 minutes, 2 saves. Orchard Farm: Meredith Knobbe, 1 goal; Jamie Hopkins, losing GK, 14 saves.

Sophomore defender Emma Stoverink.
Sophomore defender Emma Stoverink.

March 29: 10-0 win vs. Lift for Life (0-2)
Brentwood: Gilmore, 4 goals, 1 assist; Harper, 2 goals, 1 assist; Callihan, 2 goals; Curran, 1 goal; Dorenbusch, 1 goal; Ingersoll, 2 assists; Darrow, winning GK, 1 save. Lift for Life: Mariah Rogers, 1 goal; Mya Harris-Enal, losing GK, 17 saves.

Freshman Mackenzie Baum.
Freshman Mackenzie Baum.

Brentwood’s Results and Schedule: 7-0
March 24: 4-1 win at Valley Park
March 29: 10-0 win vs. Lift for Life
April 1: 2-1 win vs. Orchard Farm
April 4: 1-0 win at Bayless
April 6: 5-0 win at Metro
April 7: 4-0 win at Gateway STEM
April 12: 3-2 win in OT at Hancock
April 19: host Valley Park, 6 p.m.
April 25: at O’Fallon Christian, 5:30 p.m.
April 26: vs. Crossroads at Midwest Soccer Academy, 4 p.m.
April 28: host Hancock, 6 p.m.
April 29: at McCluer North, 4 p.m.
May 2: host Riverview Gardens, 4:15 p.m.
May 3: host Bayless, 6 p.m.
May 5: at University City, 4 p.m.
May 11: at Hillsboro, 5:30 p.m.
TBA: Class 1 District 2 playoffs vs. Principia, MRH, Valley Park, Cleveland

Freshman Caroline Bender.
Freshman Caroline Bender.

South Central AA Conference
2016 standings as of 4/15
Brentwood 3-0
Crossroads 2-1
Valley Park 1-2
Hancock 1-2
Bayless 0-3

Rebecca Walthall.
Rebecca Walthall.

Recent starting lineup
Offense:
Forward: senior Kate Gilmore
Forward: senior Abby Harper
Midfield:
Left mid: freshman Elle Curran
Center mid: sophomore Amanda Ingersoll
Center mid: freshman Maddie Dorenbusch
Right mid: sophomore Gabby Gombas
Defense:
Goalkeeper: freshmen Logan Darrow and Rachel Walthall
Sweeper: junior Aileen Frazier
Stopper: freshman Maggie Callihan
Left defender: senior Torri Brotherton
Right defender: freshman Meghan Haug
Left and right defender: senior Megan Shipley

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