By John Bassetti
Tuesday night’s girls game between South Range and Springfield was no different than most high school soccer games.
It had more corner kicks than goals, more throw-ins than goals and definitely more goal kicks than goals.
But when has there been more pink?
With Springfield players and coaches wearing pink shirts and headbands, fans wearing pink shirts and pink ribbons painted on the field, the “Shoot for the Cure” game served several purposes.
One, Springfield’s 3-0 win gave the Tigers the ITCL championship outright. Two, it was Senior Night and three, it raised awareness and funds in the battle against breast cancer.
“It was huge,” said Springfield coach Bob Rohrman, whose 22-year-old daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.
Junior Hailey Sullivan put Springfield up 1-0 with 15:56 remaining in the first half and Andrea Zubick scored two second-half goals.
Springfield (11-2, 8-0 ITCL) also beat South Range on Sept. 12, 2-1.
The Tigers’ 3-0 win on Tuesday averted a split of the title.
The Raiders (11-4-1, 6-2) were defending champions.
An ITCL soccer crown was contested for the first time in 2010 when league membership reached and exceeded the minimum number (5) of teams required for a championship.
“Ours is special when we do it,” Zubick said of Springfield’s “Shoot for the Cure” cause.
Zubick, a junior, took center stage in the scoring role on Tuesday while her sister, Lexi played in the backfield.
“She usually plays up as attacking mid, but she was back for the second half tonight,” Andrea said of her senior sister, who is also the kicker on Springfield’s football team.
“It depends,” Rohrman said of Lexi’s role against South Range. “We switch it up a little bit. If we want to shore up the defense, I’ll push her back,” he said, noting that Lexi Zubick plays a lot of defense on club teams.
“That’s her natural position.”
Sullivan’s goal came from 15 yards out after she spotted the ball alone on the grass after a South Range defender stopped it, then lost her balance. Sullivan approached the unguarded ball, then kicked it into the lower left side of the goal, to the right of South Range’s starting goalie, Kristin Robinson.
With a 1-0 lead, Rohrman was asked about his strategy to start the second half.
“We wanted to get another one and kind of take the edge off things,” he said. “One goal is great but two’s better.”
Andrea Zubick put Springfield up, 2-0, at 36:38 of the second half when she received a pass from Sullivan about 7 yards from the goal mouth.
“We were up in play and Hailey hit it and I got it and passed it back and then she [Hailey] put it back to me and I kicked it,” Andrea said.
Zubick’s second goal was on a header off Braeden Mincher’s direct kick from 19 yards out with 3:09 left.
One busy South Range defender was Ellen Downie, whose speed enabled the senior to chase down balls with the fastest Tigers.
Robinson and Cat Schuler combined to stop seven shots for the Raiders, while Springfield’s Jillian Tabatka halted 12.