Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
It was another day for a good cause at North Adams High School on Saturday, Oct. 1 as the soccer squads at North Adams welcomed the teams from Peebles High School for the third annual “Kickin Cancer” event, non-conference games benefitting the family of 11-year old Drew Reid, a North Adams student who is bravely battling the disease.
The day began with the boys teams from North Adams and Peebles taking the pitch for their action, and the game was totally dominated by the Green Devils. The home team raced to a 4-1 halftime advantage and then added four more in the second half to claim an 8-1 victory.
The lone Peebles goal came from Bostin Robinson, while the Devils got another hat trick from leading scorer and senior Patrick England, two goals from senior Kain Turner, another from senior Randall Hayslip, one from senior Ben Figgins, and another from junior Tyler Horsley.
It was appropriate that the Devils got so many goals from their seniors because the day was also Senior Recognition Day at NAHS and between the boys and girls games, ceremonies were held to honor the senior from all four teams on hand.
The girls’ teams then took the field as the oft-injured Lady Devils and Coach Dave D’Avignon continued to mix and match lineups and position to offset the numerous injuries that have beset their team. On Saturday, the Lady Devils were missing junior Brooklyn Wylie, who is out for the season as is senior Jordyn Kell with a serious quad injury.
“The darn injuries this year have been driving us crazy and giving us a challenge to meet our goals,” said Coach D’Avignon. “Losing Jordyn as well as Brooklyn for the rest of the season hurts but we have no choice to employ the ‘next man up’ principle. Other girls will have to step up as we approach the tournament.”
The game began in a show of respect for the senior Kell, as she was allowed to take the field for an honorary kickoff on her Senior Day. “I want to thank Peebles coach Gus Denzik and their players for allowing us to do that for Jordyn,” said D’Avignon. “I know it meant a lot to her and we appreciate the good sportsmanship.”
As far as the game itself, after missing time with an ankle injury, North Adams junior Lakyn Hupp has returned and she got her team on the board first at the 30:57 mark of the first half, scoring off an assist from senior Kitasha Mesmer. That was the only goal of the first half which ended with the home team up 1-0.
Six minutes into the second half, it was Hupp again doing the damage, getting an unassisted goal as her initial shot was stopped by the Peebles keeper but Hupp was able to corral the rebound and get it into the goal to make it 2-0.
The final North Adams goal of the day came from senior Kitasha Mesmer, her first of an injury-plagued year for her. Mesmer took a high, centering pass from Hupp and headed the ball into the net to give her team a three-goal advantage with 11:47 to play.
Peebles finally got on the board with five minutes to go when Lady Indians’ senior Skylar Newman was credited with a goal when a ball bounced off a North Adams defender and into the net. That as the final score of the contest, won by North Adams 3-1, improving North Adams to 8-2-2 on the season. (The Lady Devils grabbed their ninth win on Wednesday night with a 5-0 win over Fayetteville.)
“Saying goodbye to the seniors is always a hard thing to do,” said Coach D’Avignon. “It is especially true about this group of seniors because, not only are they outstanding young ladies, but they have been instrumental in establishing Lady Devils girls’ soccer as one of the best in Southeast District. In four years they have never known a losing season which is a far cry from what it used to be.”
All four teams will now look to close out their regular seasons and look forward to this weekend’s tournament draw, where they will find out what trail their postseason might take.