Beimfohr Has the Scorer's Touch
Katie Beimfohr led Millburn soccer in scoring and led them to a state title
One of the names most synonymous with the greatest Millburn girls soccer team of all-time is Katie Beimfohr. She led the team in scoring, was among the team leaders last season and was such a vital piece to Millburn's Group 3 championship puzzle this fall.
"It's certainly gratifying to know that after everything we've done and all of our hard work, we were able to end on such a high note. So we're all pretty happy," Beimfohr said.
She finished the season with a team high 15 goals and assisted five times in leading the girls to a 17-6 season, the program's second ever sectional championship and its first ever Group 3 championship. She scored the game winner in the Group 3 semifinal, scored in the county semifinal game and in a bunch more big spots throughout this season and her four-year career as a starter.
"She just refuses to be beaten and will not be dominated by any player," said Millburn head coach Andy Sones. "This year she was also a more well-rounded player ... She had the ability to be the one forward, which is probably the most difficult position to play in soccer."
During her four years the locals have racked up a 65-23 record to go along with their championships this season, a trip to the sectional final a year ago, a county championship a year ago and a conference championship two seasons ago. The Miller forward ended her career with 44 goals and 33 assists. She has the more assists than any other Miller player over the last four seasons and is tied with Tanya Sood for the most career goals.
"I wanted to lead the team and get all of these victories, but I never really expected to be the person in the middle," Beimfohr said.
She was also instrumental as a midfielder and a defender throughout the postseason and at various parts of the regular season. In crucial games where Millburn took a one goal lead, Sones often would opt to drop Beimfohr back for extra help on defense where she did not miss a beat.
That multi-dimensional play likely comes from years of playing on travel and club soccer teams and playing soccer year-round. She has played against some of the best players in the state and even has some talent right in her backyard with eight other seniors on the team, including her twin sister Emily.
"I'm definitely very fortunate to be surrounded by such great players, such great people, such great friends," Beimfohr said. "Especially growing up with these girls, I know them so well on and off of the field."
When asked about his star forward, Sones described Beimfohr as stubborn and at times not the easiest to coach. But he also described her as a player he knew he could absolutely turn to when the team needed someone to step up.
"She was stubborn, she has always been stubborn," Sones said. "Sometimes as a coach you realize that the most stubborn players aren't always the easiest to coach. But those are the players who will show you who they really are when the chips are down. She played her best games in our hardest games."
Perhaps stubborn is a word that could be used to describe the refuse to lose, underdog Miller girls soccer team over the last two seasons. They only won five straight road playoff games against favored opponents to win a state title this fall and snatched the county championship away from Montclair two years ago in a memorable come-from-behind victory.
What's funny about this year's championship run is Beimfohr admitted she didn't think they would win the state championship entering the season. She said her only hope was to get back to the playoffs and repay Mendham the favor for knocking the Millers out of the playoffs in 2009.
"I didn't even consider it," Beimfohr said of winning a title. "I thought we were maybe going to win conference and maybe even county if we really wanted it. Of course I wanted to go far and at least get to the game against Mendham in the quarterfinals and just beat them, and I'm glad we did."
She said she hit rock bottom after suffering a 2-1 road loss to Caldwell, ending Millburn's American Division championship hopes. The Millers had steamrolled the Chiefs earlier in the season at MHS, 7-1.
"After the Caldwell game we lost, we handed Livingston the conference. That for me was just like my breaking point," Beimfohr said. "I think definitely that the mindset changed. People realized that these losses, if we're going to keep losing, we're going to write this season off as just another rebuilding year."
As they entered the postseason, Beimfohr said the team still didn't feel like they were going to win everything. It wasn't until they won the section, where all of the pressure came off and they went on to win the group.
"It was just like a confidence thing. We knew going into it that if we were going to go out, we were going to go out swinging. We were going to make sure this was our year," Beimfohr said of the Group 3 title game. "That's what I think we had over [Hopewell Valley]."
Katie has decided not to continue her soccer career in college and will opt for recreational or club soccer. She felt if she was going to play she wanted to play at a Division III school, but wanted to study at a Division I college where she is interested in studying music business. Were she to play at a D-I college, she would've had to make soccer a larger part of her life than she wanted it to be.
"I decided that I'd rather just go to college and enjoy it for what it is," Beimfohr said. "Athletically soccer would be a job if I went D-I."
So for the first time in many years, there is no off-season soccer for Beimfohr, who now has time to catch up with friends, family and some of her favorite television shows like Modern Family, Vampire Diaries and Nikita. She said she'll be looking for a job and refereeing youth soccer games during the spring.