Throughout her first two seasons as a member of the Saxony Lutheran girls soccer team, Crusaders sophomore Camille Richey has already made her presence felt on pitches all throughout the Show-Me State.
Last spring, Richey became the first Saxony freshman to earn all-state honors since current Southeast Missouri State Redhawk and former three-time Missouri player of the year Emma Brune did so in 2017.
“Being named all-state definitely motivated me, but it made me want to push others more to get up there,” Richey said. “Helping others around trying to build to their full potential.”
Along with Brune, Camille is also following in the footsteps of her older brothers Garrett (2020 graduate) and senior Max Richey. They both helped the Crusaders boys soccer team advance to the state final four during their careers.
As a first team all-state selection this past fall, Max led Saxony to a fourth-place finish in the Class 2 Final Four and an overall record of 15-11. Camille said one of the traits she picked up from Max, who will continue his career at Missouri S&T, is his ability to always be vocal.
“A lot of it is just going to my brother’s games — he’s a big talker on the field,” Richey said. “So I just see that, and that it helps other people because other people learn different ways. So you’ve got to critique them.”
Saxony’s girls soccer team has yet to reach the state final four since it won the Class 1 State Championship back-to-back, lastly in 2016. Notably, the Crusaders didn’t have a spring season in 2020 (Brune’s senior year) because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Something Richey has in common with her brothers as well as Brune is that she is also playing under Saxony head coach Chris Crawford. Coach Crawford describes Camille as the type of player he wants because of her grit and aggression, which he said may stem from her brothers not being too nice to her growing up, he joked.
“It was tough,” Richey said when asked how it was growing up with two older brothers. “But we made it through. They’re both very vocal and opinionated, so seeing how people play off them and how they work has helped me. They just pushed me to work harder.”
After falling in the Class 2 District 1 semifinals last spring, Camille has helped lead Saxony to earn the No. 1 seed in this week’s Class 1 District 1 Tournament. The Crusaders (9-8) undeniably secured the top seed after handling No. 4 seed Kelly (4-13-2) 9-1 in a game where Richey recorded a hat trick with four goals on April 26.
Camille’s first goal came 25-plus yards out in the first three minutes, and she followed that up with another goal three minutes later off a corner kick by sophomore Faith Dreyer. Richey scored her third and final goal of the first half with 19 minutes left until halftime to give Saxony a 4-0 lead.
Richey and a majority of the Crusaders starters sat out after that until the second half, which was when Camille scored her fourth goal of the match. This was another lengthy attempt by Richey, who launched the ball over the goalkeeper’s hands for a 6-0 lead.
“A lot of offseason work has helped increase my shot power,” Camille said. “Getting in the gym and doing work on the field alone or going with my brothers. It’s a lot. It’s because of the repetition and doing a lot of work, and my travel season.”
Richey has played club soccer for Southeast Missouri Soccer Club for most of her life under longtime SEMO soccer coaches Heather and Paul Nelson. Camille said she loves being on SMSC and feels like it’s where she’s supposed to be. “I think SMSC is why I’m where I am today.”
Richey has scored a team-high 10 goals this year as she’s the Crusaders leading scorer with 25 points and is third in assists at five. As a freshman, Camille scored a total of 35 points with 14 goals and seven assists en route to being named one of the best players in Class 2.
“I think it helps watching a lot of games — just seeing how other people are moving and seeing where the ball is,” Richey said on her growth as a player. “I like to sneak behind people when they don’t see you and just put it in.”
Faith Dreyer paces Camille in points (24) and goals (nine), but she is second in assists (six) behind junior Annie Adams, who also has 24 points off eight goals and eight assists (team-high).
Richey and Dreyer make for quite the scoring tandem up top as Saxony’s forwards, which was a position change the Crusaders coaching staff made in the middle of the season as Camille was originally playing in the midfield.
“I think it helps Faith being left-footed and me being right-footed so we can just overlap each other,” Richey said. “We know where the other one is going. Playing up top helps us because of my speed — just breaking the defense and opening up the middle more.”
Richey’s hat trick helped start a four-game winning streak for Saxony and to record its most wins (nine) since the 2018 season when the Crusaders finished 15-5.
Saxony’s nine goals versus Kelly was also the most it has recorded all season as the Crusaders recently produced eight in a shutout of North County on May 1. Prior to the Kelly match, Saxony had lost three games in a row and fielded a sub .500 record of 5-7 overall.
“I think we needed that win against Kelly, so I think that really helped us for the rest of the season,” Richey said. “We were working together and had that win to bounce off of. We’re in a different district this year, but with playing these tougher teams it makes us work harder and have to put more effort in.
“I think we could definitely get to state, and I think seeing the boys do it this fall makes us want to get there more. We want that and this is the year we can do it.”