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Saxony boys soccer tasked with replacing many starters from final four team

Senior Luke Eggemeyer returns as one of the Saxony Lutheran boys soccer team’s few starters from 2022 Class 1 Final Four squad.Photo by Nick McNeal

For the second time in the last six seasons, the Saxony Lutheran boys soccer team advanced to the state final four under head coach Chris Crawford.

The Crusaders had never been to state prior to Crawford taking over as head coach, and he’s noticed not only a growth in numbers in the program but also there being growth in each of his player’s confidence. There will be 13 incoming freshman in the program this season.

“When I first got here, we were struggling with thinking like a small school — we’re gonna be who we are and not beat any of the big schools,” Coach Crawford explained. “Now I think the mindset has changed where we’re going to go in and win the game, and we don’t care who it is.”

Making it back to the Class 2 Final Four will be a lofty task for the Crusaders this season, though, as they graduated three all-state players in forward Jace Boland, midfielder Max Richey and goalkeeper Aaron Zoellner.

However, Saxony will return one all-state selection as three-sport athlete senior midfielder Luke Eggemeyer is back for his final season with the Crusaders. Outside of soccer, Eggemeyer plays basketball in the winter and volleyball during the spring.

“He excels in all three sports, and I think if you talked to each coach of his respective teams, they’d all tell you he can play at a high level in college — soccer is no different,” Coach Crawford said. “He does all of the simple things and all the things that you need from a senior leader to do.”

Along with Eggemeyer, Saxony will also rely on a fellow returning all-region selection in junior forward Brayden Moore.
Baylor and Jackson Wilson as well as Jonathan Pfieffer and Noah Kirn will be crucial for Saxony this fall after helping their team capture its second state plaque a year ago.

While Richey and Boland scored a majority of the Crusaders goals, Crawford said Moore is a player who scored when Saxony needed it most at times last year.

“He scored a ton of huge goals for us — he scored the one against Perryville in regulation and scored our first goal in the third-place game up at state,” Coach Crawford said. “He’s going to have to score consistently. He did it in spurts and huge moments, which is great, but we still need those dirty goals that win games or get us tied into the second half.”

Eggemeyer, Moore and Pfieffer will hope to lead the scoring attack, while it will be a two-man battle to replace Zoellner as the Crusaders starting goalkeeper between Owen Buccheit and Jack Ozark.

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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