Kamp and Anselm: Leadership and a plethora of goals
PREP YEAR IN REVIEW: Small Schools Girls Soccer Players of the Year
While each readily admits scoring goals doesn't always equal leadership, Roxana's Kendall Kamp and Marquette's Ella Anselm accepted both assignments in 2023.
And they share 2023 Telegraph Small School Soccer Player of the Year honors.
Anselm's sophomore year at Marquette saw her establish herself as one of the Explorers' all-time leading goal single-season scorers.
"I would say my role at Marquette was to be a leader, to pick our team up when we were down" Anselm said, "and I feel that in some of the bigger games, it was important for me to set the tempo for our team quickly."
Anselm: Lucky 13
Even though she scored 33 goals, Anselm said it's easy to pick her favorite last season. It was a game winner in the closing seconds of a 2-1 victory over city rival Alton High.
"When I look back on the season, my goal against Alton with 13 seconds left in the game stands out," she said. "The game meant a lot to our team. We knew we wanted to get a win and not repeat what happened the year before. We wanted to win for those seniors that had graduated the year before and win for all the seniors we had on our team this past season. And we wanted to go out in that game and show everyone everything we had and to give it our all.
"Scoring with 13 seconds left was also pretty cool for me, knowing it's my (jersey) number and has been my favorite number my whole life."
Marquette went 18-4-2 in 2023.
Being so dangerous on offense meant Anselm received plenty of attention, both from opponents and observers. But she said Marquette's team chemistry was what pulled together a multitude of strengths.
"The chemistry on our team was really good and it definitely helped a lot in games," Anselm said. "We knew at the beginning of the season having good chemistry was the most important thing. Teams with good chemistry tend to play better together. We did a lot of activity’s that grew our relationships with each other throughout the season.
"My favorite was when we had a scavenger hunt around Alton, we split up into three teams and Coach (Brian) Hoener gave us a list of items or things we had to buy or do. I feel that activity really helped bring some people closer together that weren’t that close before.
"The most special thing about this team was definitely the chemistry, but also the fact we had a ton of amazing players who could play anywhere at anytime, which really helps when there are injury’s or sickness. We always picked each other up and it always was a fun environment to be around."
Anselm started playing soccer not long after learning to walk, it seems.
"I started playing soccer when I was about 3 years old in pre-school. My dad put together this team of the kids my age in the area," she said. "Then when I started kindergarten, I played CYC for my elementary school, where my dad was also the coach, and I played on the CYC team all the way up until 8th grade.
"In second grade, when I was about 7, I joined my first club team which was PAO, and I played on that team till 7th grade, when my dad moved our team over to Sporting (STL). I played on Sporting up until last year when I left to go play for the Lou Fusz GA team, and that’s where I still play now.
"It was special having my sister (Emma) make varsity this year, because we played soccer together our whole life up until I left for Lou Fusz, so it was pretty cool to play with her again."
Freshman Abby Anselm scored eight goals and had four assists for Marquette last season.
Ella Anselm said it was after an early season win over defending state champion Quincy Notre Dame that she and her teammates figured they were onto something special.
"We knew we wanted to win a lot of games and beat some of the better, bigger schools. We went undefeated against the classes above us, winning all but one, which was when we tied Granite City on their Senior Night.
"Beating QND was a big confidence boost for our team, knowing they won state the year before. We were hoping to make it past sectionals, but we played a really good Sacred Heart-Griffin team and it didn’t end in our favor.
"At the beginning of the season, we set a lot of goals for ourselves," she said. "The main one being just to grow better as a team and as individual players. We definitely wanted to try to get another regional title which we were fortunate enough to accomplish."
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