It's safe to say that Gabi Brummett has lived up to her billing.
The freshman striker for the Derryfield School of Manchester girls' soccer team has scored 16 goals in her first four high school games to lead the Cougars to a 4-0-0 start.
Before the season started, even coaches outside Division IV were buzzing about Brummett.
"Everyone knows her. Everyone knows she's coming," said Derryfield coach Jack Sanford. "What I think is unfortunate is that we don't play a lot of teams that are going to try to challenge her."
Sanford pointed to Sunapee (4-1-0), which lost to Derryfield 2-1 last week, as one of the few teams strong enough to give Brummett a test.
Sunapee is the only team to hold Brummett without a goal, but she still assisted on the game-winner.
"I wasn't expecting it to be easy. I was expecting it to be different because it's a different style of soccer. But soccer is soccer," Brummett said. "Everything has gone really good so far. Everyone on the team works really hard and I couldn't ask for any more from my teammates."
Brummett scored six goals in Wednesday's 12-0 win over Farmington and added an assist. Sanford opted to take Brummett out in the second half and when she returned to the game, she hung back.
"She wants to be on the pitch the whole time. She just wants to play and get better every game," Sanford said. "Part of that is going to have to come from hard practices. (The challenge) may not be there every game so we have to keep our practices strong and sharp and make sure she uses that opportunity to get better."
Sanford said that the way Brummett sees the game is unusual for a freshman.
"She's got vision of the game that few girls have at her age," he said. "She's been coached quite well. She knows the strategy and on top of that she has the technical skill to carry it through."
And Brummett has a goal in mind for the season as a thank you to the seniors who welcomed her to the team with open arms.
"In the preseason, coming in as a freshman I had no worries," Brummett said. "They were always welcoming and I really want to send them off with a championship."
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Girls' top five: 1. Exeter (4-0-0, defending Division I champs are outscoring opponents 13-1). 2. Pinkerton (5-0, grinding out three tough one-goal games). 3. Windham (5-0 in Division II and outscoring teams 20-1). 4. Bow (last year's DIII runner-up, Bow holds a 22-0 edge in scoring so far). 5. Newmarket (5-0-0, another runner-up from last year, the Mules are also boasting a 22-0 scoring advantage in Division IV play).
Honorable mentions: Keene (4-0-0), Merrimack (5-0-1), Alvirne (5-0-0), Belmont (6-0-0), Woodsville (4-0-0), Derryfield School (4-0-0).
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Boys' top five: 1. Hanover (last year's Division I runner-up is off to a 4-0 start with an 11-0 scoring edge). 2. Hollis/Brookline (6-0-0, another runner-up on the rise). 3. Stevens (5-0-0, a scoring machine with 30 goals on the year already). 4. Derryfield (4-0-0, outscoring opponents 20-1). 5. Hopkinton (5-0-0).
Honorable mentions: Salem (4-0-0).
Soccer tour: A soccer tour to Italy for high school boys is being offered by Rick Scott, associate head coach of the Keene State College men's soccer team. Tour dates are Feb. 21 to March 2 , 2014.
The tour also includes a Serie A pro game and daily matches with Italian soccer clubs. For more information, email email@example.com.
Ian Clark's Corner Kicks appears every Thursday in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Coaches with stats, notes and milestones to share can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.