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It is difficult in sporting events to say both teams are winners following a competition, but Saturday's Georgetown College match against Taylor University was as close as it comes. The two teams agreed this summer to participate as National Foundation for Cancer Research's "Kick It To Cancer Teams". Their game Saturday at the GC soccer complex ended in a 0-0 draw, but 100 percent of the donations at the gate and from the T-shirt sales go to NFCR, earmarked for breast cancer research.
"It was an emotional day," said Tiger coach Leah Crews Castleman. "We've all experienced the fears and struggles cancer, and breast cancer specifically, brings. When I decided our team would take part in this, I began to do some research, and the statistics are staggering. Just inside our Georgetown College family, almost all of my players have been touched by this disease."
Quite a few of those friends, family and alum were in attendance and at halftime were honored in a ceremony. Several more were honored as those who had lost their fight.
Nearly 40,000 women died from breast cancer in 2010. While that statistic is astounding, it is even more jarring that the death rate has been decreasing since 1990. Early detection, new treatments and tests, as well as increased awareness are all contributing factors to the decline.
While trying to continue to help in that cause, both teams laced it up and Georgetown even donned pink socks for a thrilling 110 minutes of action.
The Trojans (4-2-1) dominated the first 45 minutes, taking 14 shots - seven on goal - to GC's (1-3-2) three - two on frame.
It was more even in the second half, with seven shots for TU and six for GC. Early in the first golden-goal overtime, GC seemed to have the momentum and threatened to put one in the back of the net. Taylor Fiest ran onto a ball bouncing in the box, but could not get a solid foot on it. TU's keeper deflected the ball while colliding with the Tiger sophomore.
In the second extra session, TU took control early and GC's Cathie Shaver had to turn away shot after shot. The senior was up to the task, but when the Trojans' Cara Johnson put her foot on a free ball it looked to be over. Johnson's shot, however, clanged off the crossbar. This threat re-energized the Tigers, which had a late flurry of chances at a goal.
"It was a great day and a great game," Castleman said. "We have played a lot of tough teams thus far, and today was another battle. At times early I was not pleased, but overall we really fought today."