The Red Knights and Crusaders have a long history of competition with the last four years in Class 3 being especially fraught. Tuesday’s match was the first game for both teams and for St. Dominic, the first since their quarterfinal loss to Incarnate Word back on May 26th. Incarnate went on to reach the Final last year, falling to Summit 1-0. That recent history offers some insight into the high level these teams displayed Tuesday and for the Crusaders it was a significant outcome. In a game like this, with significant contributions across both teams, I’m going to draw your attention to a freshman first and foremost.
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Grace Bindbeutel scored the first goal of the game, breaking in on the right side, beating a pair of defenders and the goalie before a sliding shot to the far side netting. It was a display fitting for the player named the Midwest Conference Player of the Year in the 2003 age group this past Fall. She was joined in this honor by Anna Lawler (2000 age group), rare company indeed. Bindbeutel’s technical skills and pace were on display as she led the Crusader’s attack.
Bindbeutel was sent in by Jr. Skylar Hollingshead, on the right wing of a 3-2-3-2 system. Hollingshead is joined by Anna Stiffler (DM) and Grace Osvath (LW) as juniors in the midfield that has at it’s central core freshman Avery Malloy (DM) and sophomore Ashley Martinez (ACM). It’s Martinez’s first season with the Crusaders as she chose to spend her freshman year continuing play with her ECNL squad last year. Martinez was remarkable playing from box-to-box and providing the fulcrum of the teams attack throughout.
Coach Koeller is blessed with a nice mix this year, with the precocious underclassmen balanced by plenty of experience. I mentioned the juniors, there are also a pair of senior defenders playing on the wings – Caroline Staebell (Rockhurst) and Maddy Stewart (Benedictine) – playing alongside sophomore Rylie Combs in the center. Jessica Larson, who scored the second goal, offers a nice pairing with Bindbeutel up top. Her goal was sweet, as Osvath headed an attempted clearance back into the box that Larson received with her back to the goal. A touch to turn and a second to get her shot off in tight spaces should offer plenty of opportunity when playing alongside Bindbeutel.
Crusader Goal Scorers(Assist): Bindbeutel (Hollingshead) ; Larson (Osvath); Racine (Malloy) ; Rottger (Bindbeutel) ; Stewart(Osvath)
Red Knight Goal Scorer: Hanna Jones (Olivia Layton)
I’m waiting on a Red Knights roster so I don’t mis-identify anyone.
On a side note, watching the Crusaders Tuesday brought back memories of their Championship season in 2007. I cruised up to Hickman from SGFsoccer.com to catch the Class 1 quarterfinal match between Springfield Catholic and St. Dominic that season. The Crusaders won 3-1 with freshman Signe Novak scoring all three. That team loved to attack the same way this team showed Tuesday.