Senior Dynamic Duo Leads Crusaders Towards Success

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STL High School Sports

Bindbeutel and Larson celebrate together after a 2021 season goal.

Alex Zoellner and Lily Hente , Staff Writer

With the spring sports season in full swing, the St. Dominic girls soccer team is on the hunt for their third consecutive state title. But behind the countless hours of preparation and few moments of glory that create a championship level team must lie a core group of leaders that guide the group to success. For the Crusaders, that leadership stems from players all across the board, but two players in particular that will push the team to their full potential are seniors Grace Bindbeutel and Jessica Larson.

The senior dynamic duo is an absolute force to be reckoned with in the Crusader attack. Being teammates in both high school and club soccer, Bindbeutel and Larson have a chemistry and skill set it seems like no one can keep up with. They are natural leaders simply due to their sheer talent and skill. Bindbeutel and Larson’s abilities motivate their teammates and allow them to provide insight and advice to those who are struggling.

“I try to help my teammates, especially other forwards or attacking players with formation or anything they need. They help me too, especially because we’ve all been playing different positions this year. We all just want the team to grow together,” Larson said.

Bindbeutel and Larson’s footwork and goal scoring abilities most certainly have not gone unnoticed. While Bindbeutel is headed to play soccer at Oklahoma State University and Larson at Mizzou, the two share the school’s single season scoring record and were First Team All-State selections in 2019 and 2021 among an abundance of other accomplishments. The well deserved awards recognize the seniors for the tremendous athletes they are and inspire their teammates to achieve their goals as well.

But more importantly than any of their personal accomplishments that make Bindbeutel and Larson leaders, they purposefully set an example for other players through their work ethic and positive attitude both on and off the field. They give 100% effort at all times so their teammates will do the same and constantly encourage the idea of team unity. The senior duo has even taken it upon themselves to welcome the underclassmen as part of the team.

“I think it is really important for me to be a leader on the team because when I was a freshman it was very intimidating to be playing with girls four years older than me. I was welcomed with open arms by the seniors and I want the freshmen to feel as comfortable as I did when I was their age,” Bindbeutel said.

The underclassmen are the future of St. Dominic soccer, just as Bindbeutel and Larson were as freshmen, and they know if they lead by example, the success of the program will continue for years to come.

As far as this season goes however, Bindbeutel and Larson are soaking in their last high school soccer moments while looking to take the Crusaders to their third consecutive state championship. They know it is their last year playing together and with their teammates and want to make it count. The team is taking it one game at a time, but they have their goal set.

“Winning a state championship is such an amazing feeling for the team as a whole. You get to look at your teammates and know that all of your hard work throughout the season paid off and led up to that moment. It is almost like an overwhelming wave of emotions in that moment because it is something that you have worked for, for so long,” Larson said. 

Winning another state title will not be easy, but through teamwork and focus, Bindbeutel and Larson know they can get the job done. They have learned the importance of working together over their past years in the program and are focusing on sharing that influence with fellow teammates.

“The St. Dominic soccer program has taught me to play as a team, with a team, and to work hard for my team rather than myself. If we focus on the team, rather than individuals, I know we can go far,” Bindbeutel said.

As the varsity girls soccer team finishes up regular season games and inches towards the postseason, make sure to come out and watch as they try to make history with Grace Bindbeutel and Jessica Larson leading the way!