WOMEN'S SOCCER | Brenn Plays Leading Role on Offense
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2012 00:10
Kaitlin Brenn has always been ahead of the curve.
At 3 years old, Brenn had already laced up her tiny cleats for the first time, playing with her 5-year-old brother’s team in her native Branchburg, N.J. At 10, she decided that soccer would be her primary sport, despite her all-around athleticism that would lead to spots on her high school’s golf and tennis teams.
In order to pursue her dream, Brenn — known affectionately as “K.K.” by her teammates — played at PDA Fire, a New Jersey-based club team and consistently one of the best in the country.
“That really was the best experience I’ve had,” Brenn said of the Fire. “We all were like a family. We’d all played together since we were 11, so, you know, we grew up with each other.”
That soccer background, combined with a focus on academics, led her to become a Hoya.
“Georgetown seemed like the best mix for me,” Brenn said. “I like my athletic career but at the end of the day Georgetown is such a great school that you really can’t go wrong.”
When Brenn arrived at the Hilltop as a freshman in the fall of 2010, she knew that she wanted to contribute to the Blue and Gray as much as she could. That hard work paid off right away, as Brenn appeared in all 24 games her first season, finishing third on the team with seven goals.
Last year, however, Brenn managed to score only once and pitched in only three assists. Head Coach Dave Nolan argues, however, that the system the team employed was primarily responsible for the forward’s statistical drop.
“Kaitlin would come in and she would be [then-senior forward Camille Trujillo’s] relief,” Nolan said. “And I think the unfortunate thing for Kaitlin was that we kept trying to play the same way as if Camille were on the field, but they’re two different players with two different sets of strengths.”
For Brenn, scoring just one goal must have been disappointing, but she noted that she would have gladly taken a goalless season to have avoided the devastating ending she and her teammates faced last year.
Despite a school-record 14 wins — including a victory over then-defending national champions Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. — the NCAA committee left Georgetown on the outside looking in.
“We were in shock because we thought we were going to make it. We thought it was a done deal,” Brenn said. “Once we figured it out, we were all in shock. We went and continued to practice and still played because we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. But it just makes you want it that much more, so we’ve come out even harder and stronger this year.”
Along for the ride with Brenn is sophomore midfielder Daphne Corboz, who joined her teammate over the summer at PDA Fire.
“Playing over the summer with K.K. was great, and we were able to develop a chemistry, like we play the same style,” Corboz said. “Playing together more, we were able to bring it to Georgetown and were able to do some of the same things here.”
This added familiarity has clearly benefited both attacking weapons, as the pair has combined for 23 goals and 10 assists this season and is the focus of the Hoyas’ offense.
Earlier this season, Nolan compared Corboz and Brenn to the Chicago Bulls’ tandem of Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan since Corboz was the playmaker and Brenn more of a prototypical scorer. After Brenn assisted on four of Corboz’s record-breaking five goals in last Sunday’s game, however, Nolan was ready to revise that statement.
“It’s more like Batman and Robin than Jordan and Pippen. … There’s going to be days where Daphne sets it up for Kaitlin, [and vice versa].”
With the offense now catering to Brenn’s talents, the forward has scored nine goals and added five assists, something Nolan attributes to her renewed confidence.
“Knowing she was going to be the go-to girl has meant a lot to her, and I think she’s worked really hard over the summer to get herself ready because she wanted that role,” he said. “A lot of kids wouldn’t want that responsibility, but I think she’s worked hard to take that responsibility.”
Off the field, Brenn is a quiet leader. Her teammates say that makes her a model whom many of the younger players on the team look up to.
“K.K. is the sort of mother-type of the team,” Corboz said. “She really takes care of everybody and is very responsible.”
When asked about the team’s success this season — the Hoyas sit 11-1-1 going into a couple of important road games this weekend — Brenn is quick to deflect credit to her teammates.
“We have a great back line and our defense really helps,” she said. “Also, our midfield is very strong, so we just have a really strong team, and it’s exciting to see how we can do.”
With five regular season games remaining, Brenn is reluctant to look too far ahead, but she admitted that she likes the Blue and Gray’s chances going forward.
“I don’t want to jinx anything … but I think we can go pretty far in the Big East tournament. I’d like to say we have a chance at winning it,” Brenn said. “As far as the NCAA tournament … it’s all about the draw and who you play, so it’s hard to say, but I think we can have great success.”