It has been five seasons since the Saxony Lutheran girls soccer team has been able to win a district championship, but that drought could very well end this spring.
Not only are the Crusaders bringing back their only all-state selection in sophomore Camille Richey, but they also return an array of players who have all started for multiple years.
“I’m really excited for this year, especially after the first few weeks of practice,” Saxony head coach Chris Crawford said. “We’ve made tons of strides, and the girls have put a lot of work in together in the offseason for their conditioning. That put us a little further ahead, and we return a lot of people.”
Also, Saxony is now back in Class 1 after spending the past two seasons as a Class 2 team, which was thanks to MSHSAA’s championship success factor for private schools.
Richey became the first all-state selection for the Crusaders since current Southeast Missouri State Redhawk Emma Brune earned the honor back in 2019, along with being named player of the year for the third time.
In her freshman campaign to also earn a spot on the SEMO All-Conference and Class 2 Region 1 All-Region Team, Camille recorded a team-high 35 points by scoring 14 goals and dishing out seven assists.
Richey’s two older brothers Garrett and Max played for Coach Crawford as they both qualified for state as members of the boys team.
“I don’t think they were real nice to her growing up,” Coach Crawford laughed. “She’s got that grit and is aggressive — she’s what you want as a player. She’s going to work really hard, and she’s not going to put up with anything from the other team. She’s going to make us better every game.”
Earning postseason honors with Richey was senior Anna Mueller as a member of the all-region team, while junior Annie Adams was named all-conference.
Mueller, who is now in her third year as a team captain, will continue to help anchor a defense that produced five shutouts last spring as opposed to just one in 2021.
The Crusaders also won four more games last season than they did two years ago after missing a season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Saxony has one other senior on its roster in Ava Perry, who also missed her freshman year of soccer like Mueller.
“Anna has continually grown as a player every year and has gotten a lot better,” Crawford said. “Ava has gotten leaps and bounds better and gives us something going forward as a senior. She’s very posed with the ball in her feet and finds the right passes. She has one heck of a shot, so I’m looking forward to those two.”
Even though there are only two seniors, Coach Crawford said he feels like his juniors are also like seniors because they all played their first season of high school soccer together.
Other juniors besides Adams who will continue to have huge impacts for the Crusaders are Clara Brune, Maci Hollis, Mallory Kohfeld, Payton Meier, Grace Ozark, Kylie Peters, Paige Seibel and Katie Swain.
“The junior class had a lot of people who were very good soccer players and recruited some of their friends that were good athletes,” Coach Crawford said. “They’ve turned out to just be an incredible class — you’ve got a bunch of girls that work really hard and live and breathe soccer.
“They’re constantly wanting to know more, wanting to learn more and wanting to try things. They’ve gotten to where as a group we can lean on them as well with the seniors because they’ve been around for a long time.”