'Kicks for Cancer' a hit in Concord

CONCORD, Mass. -- The fourth annual "Kicks For Cancer" took place Saturday with the promise of two great matches, but raising money for Dana Farber was the main goal. The two games are played in memory of Lois Wells, mother of Concord-Carlisle assistant coach Steve Wells, who lost her battle with cancer in the spring of 2007.

The following soccer season, members of the C-C's boys soccer team wanted to show their support for Coach Wells and played a game in honor of Lois. "Everybody wanted to do something to reach out and do something to help him," Patriots head coach Ray Pavlik said. "After talking about we came up with this idea to say thank you to him and to help him and his family remember his mom, and to give back."

Four seasons later, the event has raised around $28,000, with all proceeds going to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute to support woman’s cancer research.

"It really is a great night," senior captain Aaron Nickelsberg said. "Just to share with Coach Wells and his Family and everyone who suffered from cancers is fun."

The night featured two Dual County league matchups, with C-C opposing Lincoln-Sudbury and Acton-Boxborough facing Wayland. All teams wore either a pink or light blue jersey to honor the event. Each player and coach also wore the name of a loved one on their jersey who has suffered from cancer, which Senior midfielder Seth Bird thought was the most significant part of the night.

"Having that name on the back of your jersey and that new factor it adds to the game," Bird said. "And to see the event grow has been unbelievable."

"It’s truly amazing," said Steve Wells, a 1999 graduate of C-C. "It means so much to me, my family, my friends and all my mom’s friends who knew her. It keeps her memory alive."

And his players couldn't be happier to give back to Wells.

"He's been absolutely amazing," said senior goalkeeper Cam McGory. "He would do anything to be out there with us, he even runs every fitness with us."

With all the night's happenings, it was almost an oversight that four of the top five teams in the Dual County League were playing important matches.

A-B moved to 3-0-2 on the year with its draw against Wayland (4-0-1), which dropped points for the first time this season. The Colonials got the scoring started with 20:53 remaining in the first half, when senior midfielder Max Kashin knocked in the opener off of a long throw in. But Wayland equalized a little over three minutes later, when Dan Lesser headed one past Alex Green.

Less than eight minutes after the re-start, Wayland went in front thanks to an Ian Satck strike, after a nice feed from Griffan McGrain, the senior forward feeding the senior defender for a change. With 24:26 remaining in regulation, Alex Goldman tied things for the second time, but it was short-lived as Nico Pascual-Leone banged one in after another long throw in.

Then it was time for some controversy, as the referee awarded A-B a penalty with just 2:52 remaining, and sophomore Ryan Rose coolly placed the penalty in the top right corner.

"I'm pretty confident when I take PK's", Rose said after the match. "I knew where I wanted to put it the whole time, and I got it in. Wayland’s a Good team, it was a scrappy game, a tie is a good result."

The other game also had a dramatic finish. L-S (2-2-0) scored the first goal in the 14th minute, when Malcolm Joseph banged home the goal after a Eric Gandrup shot deflected out. It was the first goal scored against the Patriots all season. In the 68th minute, Will Toczylowski scored to get the Patriots (4-0-1) on level terms, but L-S almost went in front 2-1 three minutes later when Connor Jacobson beat Cam McGory. However, the goal was called back on offsides.

So instead, it was Mikey O’Brien who scored the winner in stoppage time to give the home side the 2-1 victory in dramatic fashion.

"It was pretty amazing," O’Brien explained after the match, "I thought we played well all game, even though we started off a little slow. But then, even when you’re tired the adrenaline kicks in and you just go for every ball that kicked, you just go right at it. It came to my feet, and I got a little lucky."

Lucky or not, the win puts Concord-Carlisle in a tie for first place with Wayland in the Dual County Small.