If no one had told her, she wouldn’t even have known.
According to her teammates, and head coach Steve Kilby, that’s just the kind of player that Brooke Beam is.
But whether she knew it or not, on Tuesday, May 3, everyone else at Indian River High School soccer stadium did, when the senior standout scored her 98th, 99th and 100th career goal in a 5-2 win over Polytech.
“I think it’s pretty special. Whenever somebody can hit that kind of milestone, it’s impressive,” said Kilby. “You think about the minutes that she hasn’t played — the times that we’ve pulled her off the field so we don’t run up the score.
“I think it means a lot more to the team, knowing that Brooke is very unselfish, and the fact that she is very unselfish kind of makes it even more special when you look at the type of person she is.”
Beam became the first player in Indian River High School soccer history — male or female — to eclipse the century mark in their career, as well as the Indians’ all-time leading goal-scorer, despite an impressive list of past talent at the school.
Headed into Tuesday’s match, she needed a hat trick on the day to get it done, with her teammates planning to celebrate the occasion with green and gold balloons, commemorative photos and nabbing the 100-ball for display in the school’s trophy case. However, with the rainy conditions slowing down the game and added pressure of the night, it almost didn’t happen.
“Tonight, we came in knowing she needed three — it’s kind of been hanging in the air,” said Kilby. “I told the team, if it’s going to happen tonight, we’ll let it happen tonight.”
After sending a through-ball to junior forward Maddie Hogsten to put the Indians up 1-0 in the 15th minute, Beam wouldn’t find the net herself until the 33rd, just before the half.
That’s when the pressure began to mount.
First, she sent a shot right to the keeper. Then, one just over the net. Then a hard-liner right to the keeper again, that time from point-blank range — drawing some well-natured jest from her fans on the sidelines, with Beam herself only being able to crack a smile at the situation’s inanity.
“I was getting really frustrated there. It was just a psychological thing,” Beam said with a laugh. “I was putting too much pressure on myself. I kind of learned that you just need to relax and let the goals come to you.”
“For a while there, I was thinking it wasn’t gonna happen,” Kilby added, noting one save in particular from the Poly keeper that appeared to be inadvertent. “It was amazing. Brooke was in, got the shot off, and the goalie turned up and turned into the ball.”
With time winding down, the pressure dropped off, only to mount again when Beam found the net in the 75th minute for her second goal of the game and 99th of her career.
Then, just three minutes later, and just before stoppage time, her chance finally came.
After getting the ball on clear, and racing a band of red-and-black jerseys down the sideline - footwork like jazz, concentration of a classical composer - she found herself one-on-one with the keeper yet again, this time knocking it right past as the net jumped up, along with the crowd, and Beam eventually made her way to the sidelines, wearing a much different smile this time, as Kilby tossed her the 100-ball and her teammates met her with open arms.
“It means a lot to me,” Beam said of the support from the team. “Honestly, this has been the best year for me for soccer. I feel like everyone is a family. Everyone is so uplifting to each other — it’s great.”
While she was humbled to surpass the personal milestone and net her 100th career goal, Beam emphasized that, this season, she and her team have a much bigger goal to accomplish.
“It’s a cool thing, and it’s cool to be the first person to do it — it’s definitely a good personal milestone for me — but, really, I’m focused on our team goal: us winning states this year,” she said.
With 19 goals and 12 assists on the season already, and still five games left to play, Beam should draw consideration for Gatorade Player of the Year at the end of the season, after collecting All-State honors every year of her career so far and a First Team XI selection in 2015.
She was set to get the chance to net her 101st goal when the Indians took on Sussex Academy for Senior Night on Thursday, May 5, at 6 p.m. (after Coastal Point press time).