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Sugar River clinches seventh straight conference title
Brenkmans bag big day against Wisconsin Heights-Barneveld
Bella Brenkman

By Natalie Dillon

BELLEVILLE — With a pair of 8-0 wins over Columbus and Wisconsin Heights May 13-14, Sugar River clinched at least a share of its seventh straight Capitol Conference title. The Raiders, ranked No. 9 in Division 3, can earn the championship outright with a win over Lodi on May 21.

Sugar River’s win over Columbus was a six-day affair, as the game was a continuation from a May 7 rain delay. The Raiders had a 3-0 lead after 10:15 with all three goals scored by Anya Brenkman.

“We knew it was going to be a weird game coming into it, but we saw them play for 10 minutes,” senior Bella Brenkman said. “Our team really valued that and worked off of that, knowing how they played already. We built on that at practice before the game.”

It took the Raiders just over three minutes to add on to their lead, as Hannah Boldebuck led Bella Brenkman with a pass up the pitch. Columbus goalkeeper Belle Breininger attempted to beat Bella Brenkman to the spot but was too late, as Bella Brenkman had a wide-open pass to her sister Anya Brenkman in front of the net for an easy goal.

Another combination play led to yet another Raider goal at the 30-minute mark. Brooke Warrell made a centering pass to Haley Thompson, who kicked it into the back of the net just inside the box for a 5-0 lead.

That advantage held until halftime.

The Raiders’ first scoring opportunity of the second frame came in the 50th minute. Anya Brenkman had a breakaway — created by a deep pass from Ella Woodmansee — and was tripped up in the box. Kylie Humke took the penalty kick but missed the net wide right.

Just 45 seconds later, Humke rebounded with a goal, assisted by Woodmansee.

“My coach yelled, ‘You got the next one,’ and I really took that seriously,” Humke said. “I played with our team and we made some good combinations. I made up for it in the rest of the game.”

Nearly the full 80 minutes, Sugar River enforced the eight-goal mercy rule with two quick scores. Humke took a corner kick in the 71st minute and connected with Bella Brenkman on a header. Her shot went right to the foot of Anya Brenkman, who hit the top bar on the score.

Three minutes later, Breininger came out of net once again to beat Bella Brenkman to the ball, but Brenkman managed to slip one by Breiniger while being shoved to the ground, enforcing the mercy rule.

“Our team always talks about being aggressive and being at the right place at the right time,” Bella Brenkman said. “Sometimes those balls aren’t going where you want them to be, but we try to predict as best as we can so we can.”

Four different Raiders scored in the win, including a hat trick for Anya Brenkman. Alice Neton and Savanna Minter combined for the shutout and had just one save between them.


MAZOMANIE — The Brenkman family had lots to celebrate following Sugar River’s conference win over Wisconsin Heights-Barneveld on May 14.

Senior Bella Brenkman scored once and tallied an assist. She leads the team with 12 assists, which ranks 23rd in the state.

Junior Anya Brenkman scored twice — her 37th and 38th goals of the season. The mark ties her program record for most goals in a season, which she set in 2023, and puts her third in the state for scoring. Combined with eight assists, Anya Brenkman has 84 points in 2024, which is fourth best in the state. She has four more regular season games to improve those marks. Belleville’s Hannah Kernen still holds program records in all-time points (307) and all-time goals (131).

Freshman Ellie Brenkman scored her first career goals.

Six different players scored against the Vanguards — Brooke Warrell, Anya Brenkman, Lily Maynard, Ellie Brenkman, Audry Brueggemann and Bella Brenkman. Addison Lutz and Alice Neton split time in net, tallying three saves.

“We are not going to go far if we have to rely on just one or two players,” Sugar River head coach John Ziperski said. “What we are doing is preparing for next year — not just the postseason. Some of these girls that are getting the time in the places that they are, are not seniors. Once the seniors are gone, that’s how we reload for next year.”

Sugar River improves to 13-3-1 and 5-0-0 in league play, extending their conference unbeaten streak to 55 games (54-0-1). Its last Capitol Conference loss was to Lodi in 2016.

In other local girls soccer, Monroe fell to Evansville 7-0.