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Friday, 30 September 2016 11:15
True Sportsmanship: Compassion Trumps Rivalry
SCHUYLERVILLE – No one on Schuylerville High School’s girls varsity soccer team will forget October 29, 2015, when 8th grader Davia Rossi made the winning kick for the Schalmont Sabres that cost the Lady Horses the Class B state championship. “Obviously, losing the season was heartbreaking,” said Schuylerville senior and soccer co-captain Maddy Nevins, “but what happened on the field is completely different than off the field. All of us respect Davia and wanted to do everything we could to help.” Rossi, now a 14-year-old freshman at Schalmont High, was diagnosed in August with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. “I was at my house and my assistant coach texted me,” said Nevins. “I was going to a school event where most of my team was, and told them. The whole time, we were brainstorming ideas of how to help her. It did make us realize it can happen to anyone, and we wanted to support her as the whole team.” This week, not just the team but also the whole community came out to support Rossi. Every year, the Schuylerville boys and girls soccer teams have held a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, and Monday, September 26, the fourth annual Kickin' Out Cancer event held special meaning for the teams in light of Rossi’s diagnosis. Lady Horses’s Coach Michael Kopp said the girls’ fundraising efforts were done “with zero coaching from me.” Before he could suggest a word, they were all in. “I just watched in astonished silence,” he said. “Their sense of responsibility and call to action far outweighs their age.” The Saratoga Athletic Association, Schuylerville’s K-6 youth program, hosted a Pay for Pink Day in their field over the weekend. “They collected $1,083 that day, an incredible number from the community,” said Kopp. “In addition to that, through Monday night’s concession sales, balloon sales and raffles, another almost $2,000 was raised from people at the game for the American Cancer Society. We [the girls soccer team] also had our own fundraiser especially for Davia Rossi that we did on our own, and also gave her a gift and a signed shirt from all of our players.” At halftime of the Lady Horses’ home game against Johnstown that night, which ended with a 4-0 win for Schuylerville, there was an inspirational walk around the track including a release of pink balloons. They were joined by Rossi, the Schalmont team, and their families, invited as special guests of the event. All told, Kickin’ Out Cancer broke their previous fundraising record for the American Cancer Society, raising just over $3,000. “Last year, we raised about $1800, certainly significant,” said Kopp. “I want to make sure the boys and their coach get recognized for the hard work they did – they set up everything, the tables, the balloons, a lot of work. They never complained, never wavered, it was a collaborative effort of the boys and girls teams, all in the name of raising awareness and helping Davia.” Kopp said he has two 9th graders on the team. “I look at their faces and I see Davia,” he said. “They are so young compared to my juniors and seniors. Rossi is exceptional; playing varsity as an eighth grader. You can’t help waking up to tears. The emotion comes out.” According to Kopp, Monday night’s event put a spotlight on the fact that cancer can affect anyone, including young people that we know. “This was not about us teaching them about life,” said Kopp. “It was the other way around. I’m proud of them on the field, too, but this makes it even better. It’s gone beyond team now; it feels like family. Coaches, community, family and now opposing team family.” Game Results The Kickin’ Out Cancer girls soccer game was played against Johnstown Monday night. Emily Vallee recorded a natural "Hat Trick" (3 in a row) in the first half. This was Vallee's second Hat Trick of the year, and boosts her total goals to 17 on the season. Maddy Nevins, delivered a goal and two assists. Caitlin Kelleher and her "D" notched their 6th shutout of the year. Corner kicks: Schuylerville 9, Johnstown 0. Goalies-saves: Caitlin Kelleher (Schuylerville) 2, Allison Morey (Johnstown) 18. Final score, Schuylerville 4, Johnstown 0.