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Stillwater soccer star Pickett nearing milestone

Stillwater soccer star Pickett nearing milestone

Senior striker has 189 career goals for No. 2 spot on Section II list
Stillwater soccer star Pickett nearing milestone
Brooke Pickett, left, is nearing 200 career goals.
Photographer: Gazette file photo

STILLWATER — Brooke Pickett paused for a moment, trying to recall the details of the first goal she scored as an eighth-grader for the Stillwater High School varsity girls' soccer team.

"I kind of remember it," Pickett said after last Friday's practice. "I remember it was against Hoosick Falls. Everyone was running at me. I was kind of scared."

So much has changed since that fall afternoon back in the 2015 season. Now, she looks forward to seeing her teammates charge toward her to celebrate after she's scored a goal — and that's something she has done 189 times.

With 11 more goals, the senior striker will become only the second Section II female player to score 200 of them.

"I didn't think that was a possibility," Pickett said, again recalling her first year with the Warriors. "I was worried about scoring my first goal."

As the years have passed, Pickett's goal totals have increased. She popped in 52 goals last year when Stillwater claimed its first state championship and she was named New York's top Class C player. She delivered 49 goals as a sophomore, when her team lost in the state title game and she received all-state first-team recognition.

Pickett reached 39 goals this season when she connected for a game-clincher with seven minutes left in Thursday's 2-0 win over Hoosic Valley.

"I knew there was something special about her right from the start. I teach [physical education] here and you know a good player early on," Stillwater coach Christine Ihnatolya said. "I felt she would be an impact player for us for five years."

Stillwater (13-0-1) has two more regular-season games — Wednesday at Hoosick Falls and Saturday at Mechanicville — before the state's top-ranked team begins its postseason run. While 200 goals is well within reach for Pickett, the Section II record of 211 isn't completely out of the question — but the Warriors will need to continue to win.

"It goes hand in hand," Ihnatolya said. "With her success, it helps our team succeed. With our team success, it helps her reach her goals, as well."

Brittany LaPlant of Queensbury scored 211 goals from 2011-15 for the Section II record. Pickett is currently tied for the No. 2 spot on the Section II list with Nha Wright of Duanesburg, who piled up 189 goals from 2001-06.

"As I started to approach 100, people were saying you might get 200," said Pickett, who scored her 100th goal in Stillwater's season-opener last year against Cohoes. "When this season started it was in the back of my head, but it's always, 'The team comes first.'"

Pickett primary goal for the season, she said, is to win another state title that she can enjoy with her teammates.

"I would rather have that than any amount of goals," the 17-year-old University at Albany commit said.

Pickett has scored four goals in four games this season. She also has six hat tricks. That's also what she had when Stillwater beat Little Falls 5-0 to win the 2018 state title.

"I would not be able to do it without the other girls," Pickett said. "It is always a team effort."

Pickett's efforts have helped her teammates flourish at the offensive end, as well.

"Sometimes they mark me like [against Hoosic Valley]. It doesn't faze me," Pickett said. "That opens the door for someone else."

"If she is having a tough time scoring, other people step up," Ihnatolya said. "That's what makes this team special."

And that team is led by a very special player.

"I may never have a player like that again," Ihnatolya said. "You never know."

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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