All season long, Lee’s Summit West has been checking off boxes. Conference championship? Check. Undefeated season? Almost.
Win the Pink Out Game? Big check.
West’s current senior class had never won the Pink Out Game, its annual contest against Lee’s Summit North and fund-raiser for the fight against cancer. But after scoring three quick goals during a flawless first half, West was able to reach that goal too with a 4-2 victory May 8 in front of a large pink-clad gathering at North.
West had a little more incentive for this match that capped an evening of events to raise money for the Stephanie Vest Foundation. Already undefeated champions of the Suburban Gold Conference, the Titans (18-1) saw their shot at a perfect season end May 5 with a 3-1 loss to St. Teresa’s Academy. Even after beating Pembroke Hill two days later, the Titans still felt a need to make amends.
“We were ready to come out here and show everybody that we we’re not done, we’re here and we’re ready to show everybody what this senior class is ready to do,” West senior midfielder Kara Privitera said. “We were definitely ready to prove to ourselves that we could bounce back from that loss and just get back after it.”
Privitera and the Titans wasted little time doing that. Eight minutes into the match, she received a ball from Grace Heenan in the middle of the 18-yard box and lofted a shot for the Titans’ first goal. Five minutes later, Cassidy Newsom knocked in a header to the far post just over North goalkeeper Madison Baker.
And a minute after that, Taylor Reid punched in a corner kick from Carsyn Overin to complete the barrage. Sophomore Cassidy Gann headed in a cross from Privitera in the final three minutes of the first half, and the Titans went into halftime with a 4-0 lead.
“We just wanted to come out in the first five minutes and give it our all,” Privitera said. “We got out and got our three goals under our belt and just played our game from there.”
“They came out and played really good ball,” West coach Shaun Owens added. “It was refreshing to see them come out and really play together. They played probably as good as I’d seen them play this year.”
After managing little in the way of an attack in the first half, North (7-12, 5-6) found its footing in the second half and tightened the score with two quick goals. Junior midfielder Joanie Wescoat scored on a rebound four minutes after halftime, and senior Kaylie Rock knocked in a quick shot off a throw in a minute later.
West created more good chances, but Baker thwarted them with several hard-earned saves as the two defenses took over the rest of the match.
“We kind of regrouped at halftime and had a lot more passion and energy the second half, and we played a lot better because of that,” North coach Ryan Kelley said. “I just wished we had that earlier in the first half.”
This was only North’s second loss in the Pink Out Game, which the two schools started seven years ago as a joint effort to raise money and awareness for cancer. This year’s event, which included T-shirt sales, a 50-50 raffle and a silent auction, raised $24,000 for The Stephanie Vest Foundation, which provides financial assistance for families fighting cancer.
“To be a part of something like this, it really is special,” Kelley said. “You want to come out and you want to win, but you also realize you’re a part of something a little bit bigger.”