On the same night that the Wilde Lake girls soccer program celebrated assistant coach Dave Procida being cancer-free for one year, the Wildecats defeated visiting Mt. Hebron 1-0 in overtime.
“Kicking it to Cancer” banners could be seen throughout the stadium Tuesday, as the game was designed to raise awareness for the disease.
“Soccer is always going to have a special place in my heart, because when my dad was going through chemo, he was still coaching with me last year,” said Wildecats coach Davia Procida.
Dave Procida was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia last June. After going through treatment, he went into remision in October 2012. One year later, the proud father/coach watched his daughter improve the Wildecats record to 5-2-1 in county play.
Early in the first overtime, freshman Sydney McNamara took a shot at Hebron keeper Jen Skinner (five saves).
At first, Skinner appeared to have possession of the ball. But then, as she mishandled the possession, the ball trickled in for the game’s only score.
“Brynn (Drury) passed it back to me,” said McNamara of the goal. “It just felt so great to see it go into the net.”
Drury was playing in her first game in the season, after missing much of the year due to injury.
“Her coming back is a huge factor in our game,” McNamara said. “It totally reflected and paid off on how we played tonight.”
Vikings coach Tim Deppen was happy with the effort his team put forth, but said he was still disappointed in the way the game’s result.
“It looked like she had it in her hands,” Deppen said of the winning goal. “Maybe it had some moisture on it. Maybe somebody got in her face. But, she definitely bobbled it.”
Mt. Hebron (5-3) had a multitude of chances throughout the game, including a close no-goal opportunity towards the end of the second half that fooled the majority of the players on the field, as well as the spectators in the stands.
Vikings senior Amanda Steinmuller took a free kick that nearly put Hebron up 1-0. Wildecats keeper Julia Crowe—who was playing for an injured Lauren Hutchinson—was able to scoop up the ball amid the chaos and clear it away.
Crowe finished the shutout victory with five saves.
Deppen said the team he felt most sorry for was Howard High School, the Vikings’ next opponent.
“There’s going to be a lot of anger that gets put out as effort on the field,” he said. “I don’t think there’s much I have to do other than focus our energy from this loss onto Thursday.”
Following the game, Procida said it was nice to play for something that meant more than just soccer.
“It means a lot to him,” she said, referring to her father.
Wilde Lake won't get a chance to breathe coming off Tuesday night’s emotional win. The Wildecats will be back at it Wednesday, as they welcome visiting out-of-county foe Severna Park.
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