Anna Lawler puts everything she has into everything she does.
While Lawler, who is the Post-Dispatch All-Metro girls soccer player of the year for the second time in three seasons, continues to show she is one of the top technical players around, things could have been much different.
STLhighschoolsports.com rankings - 6/15/2018 Large schoolsLast Week1. Summit (19-2-3)22. Eureka (20-6-1)43. Belleville West (17-6-3)NR4. St. J…
At a very young age, Lawler — who is headed to play soccer for defending Big 12 champ Oklahoma State — faced an athletic crossroads. As a youth, she was forced to give up either soccer or her beloved gymnastics.
“I chose gymnastics at the time, actually,” Lawler said. “My mom told me I was going to play soccer, though. That's when I pretty much quit gymnastics. Soccer has definitely been my sport since I was 8. When I had to quit, I was upset. I have grown up since then and it was something I liked. I had to let one go, but I definitely think my parents made the right choice.”
While the choice was lucky for Lawler, it proved even luckier for anyone who is a fan of skillful soccer.
As Summit coach Chris Kappler puts it, Lawler's technical merit is beyond measure.
“The poise and confidence she exudes on the field is amazing,” Kappler said. “She looks effortless and that's how good and great players play sometimes. They make things look easy but, deep down, it (takes) a lot more effort than it looks.”
As far as offense is concerned, Lawler's six goals, two of which were game-winners, and six assists were valuable.
They just didn't carry the value Lawler's play carried in terms of the team's defense.
She anchored a defense that finished with 10 consecutive shutouts right through a 1-0 victory over Incarnate Word in the Class 3 state championship game. It gave Summit its first state title in girls soccer.
“It took the whole defense for us to do what we did,” said Kappler, whose final game as Summit's coach was the championship. “It's hard to say we'd be as good as we were without her. I'm at a loss for words with Anna because she'll go down as the most decorated player to ever play at Summit. She's right up there with elite players to ever play high school soccer in the state, even though she's not a prolific goal scorer.
"The only thing she didn't have was the title and now she's got one."
Lawler said gaining that final piece to the puzzle in her high school career was indeed special.
Though it was her third try in four seasons, leaving Summit as a champion is truly special to Lawler. While her move before the season from center midfielder to center back helped solidify the defense, Lawler said the credit isn't hers alone.
“It being my last year and also being Kap's last year, it was special to end it like this, with the title after having been there before,” Lawler said. “We all had a hand in this. There were a lot of girls who (played away from their natural position). We all pitched in to make sure this got done.”
Lawler said her position change not only paid dividends for the Falcons.
In the long run, it may well benefit her at Oklahoma State.
“I played a lot of center mid for my club and in high school when I was younger,” Lawler said. “Moving to center back does increase (versatility). I'll just have to be ready to do what they want me to do when I get there.”
Lawler said while competing at state for the third time in four years has been special, it's been more than just winning that has made the whole ride worth it to her.
Being a part of the Summit community and the girls soccer team in general is a memory she will cherish.
“I want to continue to encourage girls to play high school soccer,” Lawler said. “I think it I something that is so special, especially when you're at the right school like I was — the right environment, the right community. It is so special. In any sport, really, getting to play for your high school is something cool.”
ALL-METRO FIRST TEAM
Redden came up big time and time again for the Maroons during her final season. In helping West to a Class 3A super-sectional, the program's best postseason showing, the Southeast Missouri signee owned a 17-6-3 record with 14 shutouts. She also held a 0.62 goals against average while being called upon to make 120 saves.
The Post-Dispatch All-Metro player of the year, Lawler showed her technical ability all over the pitch in leading Summit to the Class 3 title, which is the program's first. The Oklahoma State signee not only helped the defense post 10 consecutive shutouts to end the season, she also scored six goals, two for game-winners, and added six assists.
Jakovich once again provided a strong yet steady presence in the back for the Wildcats, who followed up their 2017 state title with a third-place Class 4 finish. The Xavier signee was a part of a unit that gave up just 17 goals in front of a new goalkeeper. Jackovich also added eight goals and three assists for the offense.
Wipke was a force for a Lafayette team that allowed just 13 goals in total and earned 11 wins via shutout. The Arkansas State signee also was productive on the offensive side of the ball as she scored four goals, two of which were game-winners, and added an assist.
A main cog of a Markers defense that allowed just 13 goals while shutting out 12 opponents, Lavigne helped shut down nearly all opponents. The Nebraska-Omaha signee even got into the act with the Markers' offense as she scored two goals, one for a game-winner, and added an assist.
Whitener was a major factor as the Crusaders finished third in the Class 1A state tournament. She led Althoff with 33 goals and eight assists. Whitener also added five game-winning goals, including one in each of the first three postseason contests.
Helped lead the Wildcats to a special season that finished with a program-best fourth-place finish in Class 3. Gaebe's 63 goals were a school record and the best total for an area player this season. She also added eight assists and her 12 game-winning goals were also among area leaders.
Jones was one of the top offensive threats in the area as she not only scored 51 goals but also added 19 assists for the Eagles during a stellar season. The 12 game-winning goals she scored also put her amongst the top players in the area in that category.
The firepower behind the offense for the Class 3 state champion, Schnieders scored goals in both state games, including the lone tally in the championship game. Her 23 goals led the Falcons, as did her seven game-winners. She also added seven assists.
ALL-METRO SECOND TEAM
Garlock played a key role in helping Union ascend to fourth place in Class 3, the program's best finish. The Central Methodist signee played all 1,857 minutes in goal for the Wildcats, earning a 21-3 record with 17 shutouts. She also amassed a 0.47 goals against average while making 125 saves.
Patterson excelled in her role as leader of the Red Knights defense. After recuperating from a shoulder injury just in time to start the season, Patterson solidified the team's defense. She helped IWA amass 16 shutouts in taking second in Class 3. She also added a goal and two assists.
Anderson was a huge part of a Zumwalt West defense that shut out opponents 12 times this season. Her efforts helped the team concede just 0.81 goals per game. She also had four goals and added a pair of assists for the Jaguars, who reached the Class 4 quarterfinals.
Origliasso played a big part for a defense that proved decidedly stingy this season as the Angels gave up only 10 goals all season. She was a part of a defense that shut out the opposition 16 times. She had one goal and one assist.
Friedrich showed the depth of her game all over the field for the Wildcats. The St. Louis University signee scored 32 goals, nine of which went for game-winners, and added eight assists.
Hall was an important cog during the Eagles' run to the school's first state championship in a team sport as Christian captured the Class 2 title. She pitched in 19 assists to go along with 21 goals. Of her 21 goals, two were for game-winners.
Kellam was big all season but still managed to turn up her game during the state tournament. She scored in both the Class 2 semifinal and championship games, including the game-winner in the title game. For the year, she scored 24 goals, four for game-winners, and added 14 assists.
Mathenia was the unquestioned offensive leader for West. The Southeast Missouri signee not only scored 20 goals, but six of those also counted as game-winners as the Maroons reached the super-sectional round for the first time. Her five assists also were second-most for the squad.
ALL-METRO THIRD TEAM
A third-team All-Metro softball selection as a catcher in the fall, Paez once again showed her athleticism in helping a Red Knights team to state. Paez amassed a 20-5 record with 16 shutouts to go along with a 0.61 goals against average to aid Incarnate Word's Class 3 runner-up finish.
Groh, a Southern Indiana signee, allowed multiple goals in a game just once this season and was steady in leading the Flyers to the Class 4 quarterfinals. She earned a 12-4-1 record with nine shutouts and a 0.48 goals against average while making 112 saves.
A big part of a Knights offense that pitched five shutouts, Cary not only helped keep the ball out of the goal, but she also put it into the opposing net as well. Cary scored four goals, including one for a game-winner, while also adding six assists.
Tremain played an integral role in the Red Knights' run to second place in Class 3. From man-marking and shutting out the area's top scorer in the state semifinal to adding six goals and three assists, the Southeast Missouri signee had an important final season for IWA.
Preusser scored nine goals, four of which were game-winners, and added seven assists for the Markers. She was also part of a team which surrendered just 0.52 goals per game.
As the Bulldogs made history by advancing to the Class 2A super-sectional, Stephens was right in the middle of things. Her 18 goals, two of which went for game-winners, and 14 assists proved vital. She also helped a defense which shut out 12 opponents and gave up 0.54 goals per game.
Higgins moved all over the field during the Falcons' Class 3 state title run. She lent a hand to a dominating defense that allowed just 10 goals in 24 game throughout the season. Additionally, Higgins also aided the offense with two goals, one for a game-winner, and six assists.
Brauer was the go-to girl for the Lancers offense in her final season of high school soccer. The Xavier signee accounted for nearly 65 percent of the team's scoring. She provided 24 goals, five of which were game-winners, to go along with four assists.
O'Meara followed up her state title in diving in February by putting together a stellar debut campaign on the pitch. O'Meara scored 28 goals for the district champion Wildcats, including eight game-winners. She also had seven assists.
Pattonville returned to winning form this season, winning 19 games, and a major factor behind that was the continued offensive prowess of Battle. She scored a team-high 21 goals, including five game-winnings tallies. She also led the Pirates with 13 assists.
While it was an up-and-down year for the defending Class 3 champions, Skoglund was consistently solid. Her 18 goals and five game-winning tallies were both high marks for the Statesmen. She also had 10 assists.
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