Broockerd leads Eagles to sixth shutout in win over Fort Osage

Michael Smith
The Examiner

With about 10 minutes left in the game, Fort Osage head girls soccer coach Michael Brown went to have a chat with Grain Valley assistant Brett Lewis.

He wanted to discuss how impressed he was with Grain Valley senior center back Sophie Broockerd and her play on the back line.

“She’s good. I like her a lot,” Brown said to Lewis.

Broockerd has been the centerpiece of a backline that has helped the Eagles capture five shutouts. She along with fellow senior defenders Kelsey Duett, Valerie Holcomb and Annalynn Earley helped the defense notch another one during a 4-0 victory against the Indians on Senior Night Thursday.

Grain Valley has dominated the Suburban Middle Six Conference as it improved to 13-1 overall and 6-0 in league play. And that’s largely due to the team consistently controlling possession and a back line that has held its opponents to just .79 goals per game.

Broockerd has been at the forefront of that effort, and Brown definitely took notice.

“She’s a heck of an athlete. She’s strong, she’s fast and she’s patient. She’s tough to break down,” he said.

Grain Valley head coach Tyler Nichol had similar sentiments about his talented center back.

“She’s rock solid,” Nichol said. “She’s got pace so she can catch some of the fast forwards. She is so aggressive in stepping in and winning balls. She’s soccer savvy and reads the game so well.”

This season, Broockerd made the transition from an outside back to the center and has thrived in her new role.

“I went from playing in the midfield by eighth grade year and for Nichol, I played outside back,” Broockerd said. “That was a big change. Now, I am playing center back, which is just crazy to me. I have been able to adjust to all these different positions.

“I had to be a lot more aware in communication (since moving to center back). I have to make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be.”

Against Fort Osage (7-7, 4-2), Broockerd and Co. helped shut down a pair of talented goal scorers in Emma Le and Aliyah Ayala.

In the last matchup featuring these two teams, Fort Osage missed about half of their starters, including Ayala and Le. This time, the Indians had most of their key players back. They did create a few chances, but could not convert.

“They’ve shut us out twice now,” Brown said. “We had a couple of chances, but (Grain Valley’s back line) is really fast.”

Grain Valley’s offense is just as good, averaging 5.1 goals per game. Senior midfielder Raena Childers scored on a shot from the left wing in the 10th minute for the game’s first goal.

Broockerd got in on the scoring two minutes later when she knocked in a header off a corner kick from freshman forward Emma Thiessen.

Childers scored her second goal of the game in the 33rd minute following a shot midway inside the penalty box off another corner kick feed from Thiessen.

The final tally came 70th minute when junior Lexie Arreguin knocked in a close-range shot among a thicket of players from both sides off another Thiessen corner.

“They always deliver,” Broockerd said of Childers and the rest of Grain Valley’s strikers. “They are dependable, especially Emma Thiessen. She can always turn and take players on.”