Boston High School: Leo Fondreist

Kicks for Cancer: Ladies take the field

September, 29, 2013
Kicks for CauseCourtesy Josh PerryPlayers don't wear team jerseys at Kicks for Cancer. Instead, they wear T-shirts bearing the names of family members and friends who've battled cancer.

CONCORD, Mass. – Seven years ago, the Concord-Carlisle soccer team staged a single game to help raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in honor of assistant coach Steve Wells’ mother Lois. The annual Kicks for Cancer was so well received that in 2011 it had grown to six games and twelve teams. In the past seven years, the event has raised more than $100,000 for cancer research.

On Saturday afternoon, the event reached another milestone, as the Lady Patriots donned blue t-shirts for the first time and took the field against league rival Lincoln-Sudbury. It was the first time that the girls’ programs had taken part in the event and it was announced that all the proceeds for this year would support women’s cancer research.

“It’s nice to get them involved, particularly since all the money being raised is earmarked for women’s cancers,” said Concord-Carlisle boys’ head coach Ray Pavlik after his team’s game in the nightcap. “It was something that they’ve wanted to do and we just finally said it’s time to go.”

According to Lincoln-Sudbury head coach Kate Berry, the process started before last year’s event when former Patriots coach Nancy Slocum started lobbying Pavlik to have the girls join in the event. Although there was no room in 2012, and Slocum stepped down as coach following the season, she continued to push for the girls to be included.

“[Nancy Slocum] and I talked about doing it last year and Ray just didn’t have a spot for us…kudos to her for getting us the opportunity,” said Berry. “I’m so thankful that we got the chance to do that. It’s so great for the girls and I think it’s a really wonderful opportunity.”

When asked if L-S would like to be part of next year’s event, she responded, “I guess it’s up to C-C, but we’d love to take part if we can.”

First-year head coach Peter Fischelis was thrilled for his team to be able to experience Kicks for Cancer. He remarked, “It’s great for the kids, it’s great for the families, it’s great for the crowds and it’s just great to have such a nice day. They loved it; they really had a ball. It’s just a superb event all-around.”

Senior captain and goalkeeper Angela DeBruzzi admitted that the girls had heard the boys talking about the event for years and had always wanted to be part of the day. She said, “It was our first time getting to play in this, which is awesome and to come out here and to support breast cancer awareness.”

She added, “It’s really nice to finally be part of it.”

During Kicks for Cancer, teams do not wear their traditional school colors and uniforms. The players don t-shirts that are adorned with the name of someone that they know (i.e., family member, friend, or coach) that has battled cancer. Lincoln-Sudbury boys’ coach David Hosford talked about how the experience teaches the players to understand the importance of things beyond the field of play.

He also added, “One of the things that is really cool is that we had 15 or 20 of our former players back. They all want to come back and see the moment. It’s not a home game, but in a lot of ways it’s their homecoming.”

DeBruzzi was playing for her grandmother and it was her name that was on the back of her black goalie shirt. She may have been the star of the game and earned her a team a draw (more below), but it was the mention of her grandmother that finally brought a smile to her face.

She said, “I took a picture of the shirt and sent it to her just to make sure that she knew I was thinking of her.”

29th minute honored in boys’ game: As the clock ticked past 29:00 in the first half of the game between the Concord-Carlisle and Lincoln-Sudbury boys, the officials blew their whistle to stop play. Both teams went to the sideline and joined the large crowd lining Doug White Memorial Field for a minute of applause.

The planned stoppage paid tribute to Bridget Spence, the wife of Concord-Carlisle High English teacher Alex Spence, who passed away this year at the age of 29. The 2013 event was dedicated to her memory. Spence was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 22, according to Pavlik, and she battled cancer for seven years, while also working diligently to raise money for Dana Farber.

Pavlik, wearing a t-shirt that said Spence on the back with the number 29, explained, “If there is anyone that is a testament to what Dana-Farber can do…she worked up to the last few weeks of her life raising money for Dana-Farber. She was a pretty special woman.”

The idea for the minute of applause came from one of the players and both coaches agreed to the plan.

Pavlik reflected, “That was cool. It was a nice moment to stop…it was a nice touch to do a moment applause.”

No. 4 Lincoln-Sudbury girls 0, No. 16 Concord-Carlisle 0

Maybe it was wearing her grandmother’s name on the back of her jersey, but Angela DeBruzzi was in inspired form for Concord-Carlisle (5-0-2) when they took on Lincoln-Sudbury (4-0-2) in the 3:30 kickoff. Thanks to DeBruzzi’s heroics, which included five incredible saves in the second half alone, the No. 16 Patriots held the No. 4 Warriors to a 0-0 draw.

“Their goalie was lights out; I think that’s the whole story,” raved Berry. “She played a phenomenal game. I don’t even think we were kicking it right at her; I think she played a really good game in goal. She was awesome.”

Three times in the second half DeBruzzi made a spectacular stop to rob junior forward Hannah Rosenblatt of a goal. She also made a diving save on freshman Jenna Barnes and another on a cross by Caroline Kessler. It was a great performance and helped C-C keep its sixth clean sheet in seven games.

“Having a goalie like that gives you a lot of confidence in the back. She was incredible,” said Fischelis. He added, “She’s an incredible athlete. She has an unbelievable sense about where to be and when to go out and when not to. Some of those things you just can’t teach someone; it’s instinct.”

DeBruzzi deflected the praise on her teammates. She said, “I think we’ve exceeded everybody’s expectations and that comes from playing as a team and everybody working their hardest every game. It’s not me that’s having the shutouts; it’s the whole team.”

Lincoln-Sudbury dominated possession and created the lion’s share of the chances, although the best scoring opportunity of the first half fell to the Patriots. Senior captain Allie Barrett had a low shot just tipped wide of the post.

No. 8 Concord-Carlisle boys 1, Lincoln-Sudbury 1

Sophomore goalie Bobby Hurstak saved the game for the Warriors after the teams traded first half goals. Lincoln-Sudbury (3-0-3) held on to salvage a 1-1 draw with No. 8 Concord-Carlisle, who rued missed opportunities throughout the game.

“We had plenty of chances in the first half, plenty of chances in the second half, but their goalie was awesome. He was a huge equalizer tonight,” said Pavlik.

The visitors took the lead in the 25th minute on a short free kick on the edge of the box. Nathan Cohen caught the Patriots unaware by playing a pass on the ground to captain William Hutchinson, who coolly slotted it home.

The hosts kept up high tempo and pressure throughout the first half and hit the crossbar with a header before junior Mitchell Palmer rose highest to nod home a cross by Leo Fondreist with just more than a minute left in the first half.

Concord-Carlisle (6-1-1) would dominate the opening stages of the second half and Hurstak was forced into a brilliant diving save to rob Fondresit from inside the 6-yard box. The home fans were on their feet cheering again with 13 minutes left, but Garrett Leahy’s shot was inches over the bar.

“It was really won or lost in the midfield and I think we dodged some bullets with some of the chances they had,” said Hosford. “They’re a very good team.”

In other action:

Reading 1, Woburn 0 – Dave Sullivan scored the lone goal for the Rockets. Woburn also had a late penalty saved.

Lexington 3, Wakefield 1 – Lewis Mustoe, the son of NBC soccer broadcaster Robbie Mustoe, scored a brace and Caleb Stipple added the third for Lexington. Antonio Parrinello had the Wakefield goal.

Brookline 2, Newton North 0 – Ari Karchmer and Toma Beit-Arie scored the goals for Brookline in a battle of Bay State Conference teams.

Acton-Boxborough 1, Wayland 0 – The Colonials earned their first win at Kicks for Cancer on a goal from Julian Stewart.

Recap: Kicks for Cancer victory on and off the pitch

September, 30, 2012
The cliché in sports is that the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back.

There are always exceptions, however.

From Newton North freshman Conor Larkin scoring the lone goal to beat rivals Brookline with Pop Pop on the back of his jersey to the entire Wakefield team wearing shirts that read Angelo in honor of their coach’s father, the meaning of the 2012 Lois Wells Kicks for Cancer soccer tournament extended far beyond the Concord-Carlisle High School community that hosted it.

The tournament, now in its sixth season, has expanded from its original idea of a one-game fundraiser in honor of Concord-Carlisle assistant coach Steve Wells’ mother Lois, who passed away after a battle with cancer in 2007. This year 12 teams took part showcasing both the depth of soccer talent in the area as well as the generosity of the communities in which they compete.

Wells, speaking hours before the Patriots took the field against Lincoln-Sudbury, was amazed at the amount of support the tournament has received, “For my family and me, it just means so much and, I think, for the Concord-Carlisle community it’s really something that everyone looks forwards to every year and I think now that we’ve added other local towns it’s something that they get excited for too.”

One of the interesting features of the tournament is that players do not wear their normal team jerseys, but rather don light blue or pink T-shirts with the names of people in their lives that have been affected by cancer. From family members, to friends, and (at least in the case of one player) Bob Marley, the shirts reinforce the message that the games are about more than just wins and losses.

The original idea for the tournament was developed by Concord coach Roy Pavlik and he spoke of the attitude that the players take towards the tournament, “For some of the kids, it’s the highlight of their year. The crowds are big, but I think they get the idea that they have an opportunity to do something special here. It’s more than just about a soccer game.”

While the tournament is very personal to the Concord-Carlisle team, other coaches and teams have also become very connected to the event. Wakefield coach Matt Angelo was emotional following his team’s 2-0 win over Stoneham. He had no idea that the team had decided to wear shirts honoring his father Mike, who had been diagnosed with double myeloma in 2006.

“My guys decided to honor him as a team, they all put Angelo on their backs,” explained Angelo. “It’s special. There is a different feeling when you come here. It makes you think about the greater meaning.”

These thoughts were echoed by Newton North coach Roy Dow as he deflected a question about his team’s victory over Brookline, “Today the main thing we talked about was what we’re here for, it’s not to beat Brookline, and it’s to raise money for cancer (research). People die from cancer and what that says to me is life is short and there’s no reason not to leave everything out on the field.”

Following each game, teams gathered to take photos with their shorts and each time (and without prodding from parents or coaches) the player insisted that photos be taken of the names that each had chosen to play for. Wells noted this feeling that surrounds the tournament, “It’s something that has gone way above soccer and that’s very special to see, as a coach, to be able to do something bigger than the game itself.”

Game Notes:
" Belmont and Lexington played to a scoreless draw in one of the 1:00 games. Belmont’s sophomore goalie Robbie Montanaro made seven saves for his third shutout of the season. Lexington goalie, Joey McWeeney, made four saves for his second shutout.

" Wakefield beat Stoneham 2-0 in the other 1 p.m. game. M.J. Urbano scored the opener on an assist from Josh LaPlace. LaPlace would score the clincher and Alan Conlon kept Stoneham out for his fourth shutout of the season. Wakefield is now 3-3-3 on the season.

" Newton North edged out its rivals from Brookline 1-0 for its 2nd win of the season. Freshman Conor Larkin scored his 2nd goal of the season, and second game-winner, in the 19th minute. Andrew Leaper held on for a clean sheet.

" Reading improved to 5-3-1 with a 1-0 win over Woburn. Dane Sullivan scored the game’s lone goal off an assist from Jackson Conroy. Lee Jacobs was in net for the Rockets.

" In one of the nightcaps, No. 3 ranked Acton-Boxborough finished with a scoreless draw against Wayland.

" The other late game was a 3-0 victory by No. 2 Concord-Carlisle over Lincoln-Sudbury. The hosts took the lead in the 9th minute on a goal by senior captain Stowe Simonton. In the 27th minute sophomore Mitchell Palmer tack on the second before junior midfielder Leo Fondriest finished the scoring 9 minutes after halftime. Senior Cray Novick earned the shutout in goal (his sixth shutout of season).