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Women’s soccer wins ‘Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Game’

October 24, 2014

It was the “Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Game” at Ramer Field on Saturday evening as the UW-River Falls women’s soccer team defeated the UW-Platteville Pioneers by a score of 3-1.

The Falcons dressed in purple for the awareness game and came out firing in the first half of the match, scoring three times before the intermission.

“It couldn’t have started any better,” said Head Coach Sean McKuras. “We put up a beautiful goal just over three minutes into the game.”

Junior defender Missy Barnett put in the opening goal. The score was her second goal of the year with an assist from sophomore defender Kenzie Weisman. 10 minutes later, freshman midfielder Carrie Anderson scored the second goal of the match for the Falcons with an assist from senior striker Alex Swatloski.

Anderson would follow up her goal with a helper at the 29 minute mark. Anderson was credited with an assist after junior midfielder Megan Haninger hit the back of the net for the first time this season.

The Pioneers tried to break new ground after the half, but could only beat Falcons sophomore goalkeeper Erica Cimochowski once in the second half.

UWRF peppered the goal on both sides of the half with 12 shots before the half and seven after.

The Falcon’s goalkeepers played a stout game, only allowing the one goal while making three saves. Cimochowski was in the net for three quarters of the game with sophomore Sarah Baierl playing in relief for the last 15 minutes.

The win brings the Falcons to a 9-4-2 record overall this season with a 2-2-1 WIAC record.

So why did the soccer team hold a game raising awareness about pancreatic cancer? The reason stems back a couple years to former Falcons soccer player Leah Hagan.

Hagan played for the Falcons for four years. Her mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August of 2011; her diagnosis is what spurred the creation of the special game.

This was the second edition of the Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Game. It is held every other year. Both Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Game’s have put the Falcons in purple uniforms for the match. The game jerseys are then auctioned off with the proceeds going toward pancreatic cancer. The jersey auction raised $550 this year.

“My company, Jacobs Marketing, actually funded all of the jerseys that are at the game today, so that was really nice of them,” Hagan said. “We haven’t been able to say all the funds have gone straight towards the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network before, so that’s really cool of my company to fund the jerseys.”

Along with the game at UWRF, Hagan helps support other events that find funding for pancreatic cancer. Hagan supports the Purple Ride, a bicycle ride held annually in September, and Purple Light Vigil held at Minnesota’s state capitol building.

“It’s a very aggressive disease and it has the lowest funding out of all types of cancers. It has the lowest survival rate,” Hagan said. “Any awareness, any funding that can get out in the world is amazing and I just thank the support of my fellow soccer teammates and everyone that is here tonight supporting this cause is very impactful to me, so I really appreciate it.”

The win on Saturday was its second-straight victory after the team was victorious at home on Wednesday. The Falcons faced off against Buena Vista University from Storm Lake, Iowa, and defeated the Beavers by a score of 4-0. The Falcons dominated the whole game. UWRF attempted 25 total shots while the Beavers only got three shots off.

Swatloski outshot the Beavers by herself with eight total shots while finding the back of the net twice for her ninth and 10th goals of the season.

Also scoring goals for the Falcons on Wednesday was freshman forward Kayla Windingstad, who got the scoring started just before the 24 minute mark. The goal was her third of the season. Anderson also scored her third goal of the season just past the 68 minute mark. McKuras was also impressed by this game and more specifically the game his team played together.

“That was a good game. It took us a little bit to figure out how to unlock their defense,” McKuras said. “What I really enjoyed about that game was that we depended on all of our players to play and they all went out and worked hard and played within the system. It was really nice to see.”