SUPERIOR, Wis. -- Annah Schussman won a section title as a member of the Bemidji High School girls soccer team in 2017, scoring a soaring 45-yard shot to help the Lumberjacks claim the section crown.
Four years later, Schussman once again has her team in position to win a championship -- but this time, it’s as a member of the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
“As I'm kind of nearing the end of my collegiate career here, I've been thinking a lot about the end of my high school career at Bemidji,” Schussman said. “Just winning the section championship my senior year there. And then kind of the parallel of winning our conference championship here also in my senior year.
“I've been thinking about it a lot. It's been kind of funny how it cycled that way.”
The Yellowjackets clinched the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference title with a win over Northwestern last Saturday, the first in the school’s history. This Saturday, they’ll start their journey in the Division III NCAA Tournament against St. Catherine.
Schussman sees similarities between this UW-Superior team and her Bemidji team that won the section title.
“Honestly, a lot of it boils down to just heart, I guess,” Schussman said. “Definitely my senior year in high school, we really, really wanted that section championship. It meant a lot to us.
“And I think even now, throughout my time here (at UW-Superior), getting our first conference championship has been huge for us. Definitely something that the senior class has all been looking forward to since we came here.”
The moment is upon them Saturday. But Schussman is no stranger to it. In addition to her high-arcing shot in the 2017 section final, she scored two goals in the Jackets’ semifinal and one in their final win in the UMAC Tournament. Her second score in the semi set a new scoring record for the school at 33 career goals, one she quickly stretched with her goal in the final last Saturday.
Schussman hopes to continue building on her record by helping her team to wins in the NCAA Tournament. She credits her health for allowing her the longevity to become UW-Superior’s all-time leading scorer.
“I've stayed really healthy, and I think that's contributed to me being able to play in more games and then get more goals,” Schussman said. “Honestly, I think I'm just overall really honored and really grateful for all the time that I've had here.”
The Yellowjackets aren’t the only team to benefit from Schussman’s scoring prowess, and they’re not the only team whose record books her name will endure in for some time. She netted 30 goals and tallied 16 assists at BHS, making her the program’s sixth-leading scorer since at least 2005.
As she prepares to wrap up her college career, she can’t help but reflect on where it all got started.
“That was my foundation, in high school,” Schussman said. “I had a lot of great coaches. Rick Toward, I was coached by him when I was younger. Even Jeff Mitchell throughout the summers. And then obviously Logan (Larsen). All of them were great contributors to my foundation as a player.”
UW-Superior faces St. Catherine at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, in St. Paul for the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. The match is available to watch via a streaming link on the UW-Superior athletics website under the women’s soccer schedule tab.