It was a special night in Seaman on Sept. 16 as the girls and boys soccer teams from North Adams played host to the Peebles Indians in the annual “Kicks for the Cure” games. The special evening drew a capacity crowd and resulted in a pair of 5-0 victories for the home teams, though wins and losses were not the important focus.
The game were dedicated to the memory of Chuck Daria, a local soccer official who lost his battle with cancer this past February. The final game that Daria had officiated was last season’s “Kicks for the Cure” contest and he was also honored by the Ohio High School Athletic Association as the 2015 Girls Soccer Official of the Year. Daria’s family was on hand at the game dedicated to his memory.
Also, all of the proceeds from the game are being donated to The Dragonfly Foundation, a group that attempts to bring comfort and joy to children and young adults who are facing cancer. That check will be presented on Oct. 3 when the Devils’ teams host their Senior Day activities.
“The girls, led by Jordyn Kell and Lakyn Hupp, did an outstanding job organizing the Kicks for the Cure games,” said North Adams head coach Dave D’Avignon. “I am so proud of them and my whole team and of our community who came out in numbers and supported the team and kids suffering from cancer. The numbers aren’t final yet, but the amount will be in the thousands.”
All four teams, two girls and two boys, were outfitted in special “Kicks for the Cure” t-shirts and the girls’ teams took the field first and it was less than two minutes into the game, the Lady Devils had all the scoring they eventually needed when sophomore Lakyn Hupp scored after a throw-in by Brooklyn Wylie and an assist from Kitasha Mesmer. Hupp gathered the ball in off the pass from Mesmer, took two dribbles and beat Peebles goalie Shanien Swango for the 1-0 lead.
The Peebles defense bucked down after that, but the Lady Devils were back on the board before halftime when Mesmer got the first of her three goals on the day at the 20:25 mark, after a pass from Hupp was headed by Cati Butler to Mesmer, who drilled it home and North Adams took a 2-0 advantage to the halftime intermission.
The first 20 minutes of the second half were a defensive struggle, before the Lady Devils broke the ice with Mesmer getting her second goal. Following an Allison Harper corner kick, Bailey Schirtzinger headed the ball forward to Mesmer who pulled it out of the air with her right foot and deposited it into the net to make it 3-0.
The game went scoreless for another 12 minutes before Mesmer made it a hat trick, intercepting a missed Peebles kick about 10 yards out and left-footing a chip shot into the goal. The final North Adams score of the win came with just 26 seconds to play when sweeper Taylor Wylie received a goal kick near midfield, dribble forward, head-faked left, and beat the goalie from a difficult angle for the final points in a 5-0 win for North Adams.
The victory improved the Lady Devils to 6-1-1 on the season, 4-1 in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference.
“It was a true team effort tonight,” said Coach Dave D’Avignon. “We’ve got a stellar goalkeeper, a confident defensive four, solid midfield play, and determined attackers. Now that we have put all that together, it’s a matter of sustaining a high level of play.”
“Getting Kitasha back from illness has been a boost for us. She is maturing into an excellent soccer player. Having her back allows us to play Cati Butler in center mid where she in an anchor.”
In the following boys’ game, the action was controlled by the host Green Devils, who were able to execute their style of play of exposing the wings and then whipping the ball across the six-yard box, according to North Adams head coach Ike Wooten.
As in the girls game, North Adams led 2-0 at halftime and added three scores in the first 15 minutes of the second half to put the game well in hand in an eventual 5-0 triumph. The victorious Devils got two goals from Aaron Pertuset, and single scores from Ben Figgins, Tray Brand, and Dunkin Hesler. The Devils also got another solid defensive performance in front of goalkeeper Drew Coppock, whose only real challenge on the night came on a Peebles shot from nearly 40 yards out.
“Our team’s number one priority is to try and shutout our opponent,” said Wooten. “If we are good enough to then find the net at least once even on a bad day, 1 beats 0 every time. Our guys have finally bought into our system of play and the opportunities are there and if we start finishing at a higher rate, then we will be hard to handle.”