Trevecca dives into pursuit of women's soccer crown with both feet

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 10:49pm

Brooke Gann might as well have two left feet.

A natural southpaw, the Trevecca Nazarene sophomore leans on her right foot too — making her a valuable weapon on the soccer field.

The ambidextrous forward has shot her way into the record books with a single-season school-record 12 goals as the Trojans (15-3-3) head into their first National Christian College Athletic Association Division I Soccer Championship on Wednesday in Kissimmee, Fla.

“She is relentless up top. She can run and run and run and then finishes with both feet,” coach Brett Armstrong said. “She is dangerous. I think she scares everybody a little bit.”

At 5-foot-3, she doesn’t look intimidating but her teammates caution otherwise.

Behind her speed and endurance, Gann has piled up 20 goals in two years and ranks third all-time at Trevecca, which this season outscored its three regional opponents 11-0. On Monday, she was named the Mid-East Region Player of the Year.

“We always hate going against her in practice as defenders,” sophomore Jordan Ponto said. “She works really hard every day and is able to capitalize when she has the opportunities and score the goals we need.”

Offensively, Gann has provided much of the production — especially in clutch moments.

The Chattanooga native has scored six game-winning goals this year, providing much of the offense for a team heavy on defense.

“She’s getting big goals in big spots for us,” said Armstrong, who was named the Mid-East Coach of the Year. “At this level most of the girls can play with both feet but to have somebody, especially up top, who is confident enough to shoot. Usually we have a favorite side that we like to go toward and that makes us a little more predictable. But Brooke really doesn’t care if she is on her right foot or left foot, she’ll let it fly. I think that makes her tougher to handle up top.”

Gann said she has always had the ability to shoot with both feet.

Most soccer players are taught to dribble with both. When it comes to shooting, some rely on one foot too much and lean toward attacking to one side of the goal. This makes them more vulnerable from a defensive standpoint.

“I guess I am blessed enough to use them both — pretty much since I was little,” she said. “You want to use your left foot more by forcing yourself to use them both and just practicing from being little to all the way up to now. It is important to use them both.”

The Trojans hope to ride the feet of Gann and Co. a little longer.

With a school-record 15 wins, Trevecca was ranked 14th in the latest NCCAA poll but is the eighth and final seed in the tournament. The Trojans open against top-seed Judson (Ill.) University.

A preseason goal to reach this stage, Trevecca has exceeded expectations as it continues to transition to NCAA Division II. Midway through the season, the Trojans went 11 matches without a loss. During that stretch they won all three of their Great Midwest Athletic Conference games. It served as a prelude as they won the inaugural G-MAC tournament at Trevecca in November.

Trevecca takes a program-best seven-game winning streak into the national tournament, where the Trojans want to get off on the right — or left — foot and stick around for a few days.

“We really believe we can go down there and win. It is not enough just to win one game for us,” Gann said. “People don’t expect us to go out there and win against bigger and stronger teams. But we just have a lot of heart and we play together. We may not be the best team all the time but we stick together and pull through.”