Both Lauren Reeves and Brooke Brecht were starters on the Groton varsity soccer roster for five years. They were both in eighth grade when they first made an impact on the program. Since then, both have won IAC MVP awards and have led the Indians to an unprecedented four consecutive league titles.
But of course, all good things must come to an end. When next season comes around, Reeves and Brecht won’t be wearing red. Reeves will be taking her talents to the Division I level with Canisius College, while Brecht has yet to decide where she’ll be playing soccer next fall.
It will be the first time in over a decade that the pair will not be teammates. Brecht and Reeves first shared the field when they were 8 years old.
“It’s kind of been like a sisterly thing,” Brecht said. “We pick on each other a lot, but at the end of the day, we always have each other’s backs.”
Reeves added the specifics of their playful banter on the field.
“We’d tease one another,” Reeves said. “Like, ‘Oh, that shot was horrible,’ or, ‘Wow, you’re really going to ride the bench now.’ Something silly, but we know we’re just joking.”
Looking back on their five years and all their accomplishments, the favorite memories of both players occurred on the same day but at different times.
“My favorite memory was winning the division the first time freshman year because it was something that everyone never thought we’d do,” Brecht said. “When you finally do it, it’s crazy.”
Reeves’ special moment happened off the field of play that day.
“My favorite memory was the ride home from that win and how we got escorted by the police downtown,” Reeves said. “It was crazy. At first, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re getting pulled over.’ But then, all our parents, friends, classmates, had posters down on main street. Then at the high school, they had ice cream and cake waiting for us to congratulate us.”
As the league trophies piled up for Groton, the fanfare of the first championship back in 2016 did not follow. The celebrations from then on were team parties and more opportunities to bond for the Indians.
It’s not easy to follow up a 17-1 season, which is what Groton accomplished in 2018. It’s even harder to do that after losing an IAC MVP in Maggie Ossit.
But the Indians came together to bring home the league trophy for the fourth straight time. Reeves touched on the team attitude that helped their success.
“We excelled with our attitude while we were on the field definitely,” Reeves said. “When we were losing, we stuck together as a team and took the loss as one or took the win and celebrated together, definitely the attitude towards playing together.”
That unseen factor of chemistry is one which success hinges on, in Reeves’ opinion. The camaraderie between teammates can’t be tracked on a stat sheet, but it plays a huge role in the sport.
“[Chemistry] is definitely one of the biggest aspects that makes your team successful or not,” Reeves said. “If you don’t like each other, you’re not going to play well and you’re not going to want to help each other out. So, definitely, having good chemistry is what makes a winning team a winning team.”
It was incredibly important for the Indians to come together, but now, they’ll face an even bigger challenge next season. Without these two MVP-caliber players, it will certainly be a new-look Indians team. However, Brecht is confident in the young talent rising through the program.
“We definitely had a really talented younger squad this year,” Brecht said. “The younger girls definitely stepped up and really contributed to the team atmosphere as well as our gameplay.”
Both Reeves and Brecht come from soccer families. Lauren’s older sister, Sidney Reeves, is Groton’s all-time goals leader and went on to play at the University of Buffalo and SUNY Cortland. Brooke is the daughter of Dick Brecht, who has coached the varsity girls soccer team for the past 11 years.
“Soccer is quite literally my life,” Reeves said. “Everything revolves around soccer, from traveling with my club teams to different states to just playing with my friends in the backyard.”
For Brecht, not only does she come from a soccer family, but playing the sport has also allowed her to have a second family on the field.
“Soccer is a good change from the stress of school and all of the learning,” Brecht said. “It’s good to get away from it and be with my friends and give me a sense of family for the season.”
Family is a word that was brought up multiple times by Reeves and Brecht, and a huge part of that was the sisterly bond the two shared over the past decade. They’ll be on different fields come next year, but the memories of the past decade together will live on.