Saxony soccer seniors sent out on high note


Saxony Lutheran girls soccer coach Chris Crawford told his team prior to the Class 1 Final Four that they were not going to lose on Saturday.
“We were either going to win a state championship or we will get third place,” he said. “That was the mindset that we went in there with and I thought the girls did an incredible job.”
The Crusaders’ minsdset could have certainly been shaken after the Class 1 state semifinal when they fell to Summit Christian 2-1 on a goal in the final 40 seconds.
“For us we go into every game with the same mindset and focus,” Crawford said. “Obviously, it was emotional for the seniors. We talked Friday night and that we could easily give up and go into the third-place game and mail it in, or we could be mature and treat this like every other game and show how high character we are and we did just that.”
The Crusaders defeated Laquey 2-0 in the third-place game off two goals from Mallory Kohlfield.
“I think we controlled much of the third-place game,” Crawford said.
Just three years ago, in the 2021 season, the Crusaders finished with a subpar 4-15 record, a far cry from the state championships seasons in 2015 and 2016.
Part of a program that’d slipped from its dominant status a half-decade prior, the 2024 class worked valiantly to push the Crusaders back to where they had been, despite the uphill battle.

That senior class includes Annie Adams, Clara Brune, Maci Hollis, Mallory Kohlfield, Payton Meier, Grace Ozark, Kylie Peters and Katie Swain.
Crawford said the senior class has been monumental to getting the program back on a solid foundation.
“In 2021, we were super young, and started nine or 10 underclassmen,” Crawford said. “We had some upperclassmen and they were good leaders, but it’s tougher when you don’t have that experience at the varsity level. We learned a lot from that season about the character of our kids. Right after the final game that season, they wanted to have an open field the next day.”
Crawford said saw sparks of potential from the team throughout the 2021 season, and it showed during the next two seasons that allowed the program to claim third place in back-to- back seasons. Crawford said the team had at least five players that saw time in the final four that did not play soccer before coming to Saxony. Kohlfield being one of them, and she scored all three goals for Saxony in the final four.
“It’s a testament to them for putting that work into soccer,” Crawford said. “We are a small school and while I was coaching the boys basketball team, I’d go watch girls basketball and try to get some of them to play soccer. I think the two sports are a lot alike. If you can get the players to understand both games, you can do a lot of good things.”
Saxony graduates a big senior class, but will have another one coming back in 2025.
“A lot of the juniors that we had this year played significant time,” Crawford said. “Losing a special senior class is hard to replace, and I don’t know if we will totally. However, we have people in those spots that will work hard to fill them. Some of them were playing about 660 minutes per game for us. It won’t be too much of a change, but several players will go from coming off the bench to starting.”
Crawford would definitely classify the 2024 season as a success.
“We came in and won the last game of the season,” he said. “The seniors also went out and won the last game of their careers. I pretty confident that these seniors will have successful lives in whatever they want to do.”