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Saxony girls soccer takes third place at state for second year

Saxony Lutheran junior Camille Richey, left, embraces a hug from senior Mallory Kohfeld after Kohfeld scored her first of two goals against Laquey in the Class 1 third-place game on Saturday in Fenton. Photo by Nick McNeal

Despite not reaching the state championship game, taking third place in Class 1 for the second year in a row was quite the way for Saxony Lutheran girls soccer’s senior class to go out.

It was a group that only won four games their freshman season and had a few members that had never even played soccer before. One of these Crusaders was senior Mallory Kohfeld, who scored all three of Saxony’s goals this weekend at state.

“It’s awesome [to take third again], especially working with the group of girls that we had,” Kohfeld said. “Coming to state back-to-back is pretty cool. … It’s surreal because I came in freshman year not knowing a thing about soccer.

“To end my career like this with a bang is amazing, and I can’t thank my family, my teammates and coaches enough. … I couldn’t do anything without my teammates — it’s all them. All the balls they played to me, I just had to finish them.”

Prior to state, Kohfeld moved up to play at one of the forward positions, proving to be a dominant force alongside Saxony’s leading scorer junior Camille Richey. Mallory refers to Camille as her “little twin” as the two are nearly the same height, have brown hair and share a similar playing style.

“We’ve said that [we’re twins for a while] and people always get us confused on the field,” Kohfeld said. “We play with each other and have the same mindset — if a ball is going, we get it. We play off of each other — we just play for the team and each other.”

In the third-place match, the Crusaders (14-7) took on Laquey (18-6-1), which entered the contest having nearly averaged four goals per game. Saxony held the Hornets scoreless for the entirety of the match, only allowing one shot on goal for senior goalkeeper Grace Ozark to record her the 10th and final shutout of her senior campaign.

Ozark was helped in the defensive effort by the likes of seniors Maci Hollis, Annie Adams, Katie Swain and juniors Isabel Brown and Aleigh Miller. Players like senior Clara Brune and juniors Adalina Deckerd and Maggie Hillin also did a phenomenal job defensively playing in the midfield.

Along with this defensive effort, Richey helped Saxony keep the pressure on the Laquey defense by adding three shots on goal to Kohfeld’s two and assisted Mallory on her first goal in the 46th minute.

Crusaders junior forward Faith Dreyer recorded a shot on goal as well, while senior forward Kylie Peters also played a pivotal role in leading the offense to get chances.

“It’s so amazing [to have placed third again],” Richey said. “It’s a great group of girls we have, and we have eight seniors, so it’s nice to finish it out like that and come out on top. Only two teams can end with a win, so you might as well be one of them.”

This was following a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to eventual Class 1 State Champions Summit Christian Academy (15-6-1) as the Eagles went on to handle Lutheran St. Charles (10-9-3) 3-0 in the state title game.

Saxony and Summit Christian were tied 1-all for a majority of the state semifinal until the Eagles scored with 41 seconds remaining in regulation. The game was knotted up prior to halftime with an unassisted, 25-yard goal from Kohfeld.

In the goal, Ozark defended a total of 14 shots and came up with 12 saves in an effort to reach the Class 1 state title game. Outside of Kohfeld, both Brune and Adams each had shots on goal with two and one, respectively.

One of Saxony’s star seniors and the only one that is going on to play collegiately was out for the state tournament with an injury in Payton Meier. However, the future Jefferson College Viking did get to be on the field for the final seconds of the third-place game, the last of her Crusader career.

“[All the seniors] are truly my best friends — this senior class is so close,” Kohfeld said. “We have so many memories together playing sports and growing up together from first grade to now here. It’s just amazing to play with your best friends.”

Looking ahead for Saxony girls soccer, the program is certainly going to miss a senior class that led the program to reach the state final four back-to-back for the first time since it won two state championships in a row in 2015 and 2016.

However, the Crusaders are set to return one of the top players in Missouri in Richey, as well as key contributors from this season like Brown, Dreyer, Deckerd, Hillin, Miller, junior Abby Haley and a freshman class that fielded seven players this spring.

“We’ve had a lot of underclassmen step up this year knowing there’s eight seniors leaving, so we’re just hoping everybody keeps stepping up and taking those leadership roles that are opening up,” Richey said. “… [All of this success] has been a surreal feeling — it’s hard to explain.”

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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