MARION, Iowa – When rivals come together for a common cause, it's only fitting that it doesn't end in regulation.
A save by Linn-Mar sophomore goalkeeper Rylie Frese clinched a 7-6 penalty-kick advantage as her Class 3A seventh-ranked Linn-Mar Lions downed No. 5 Kennedy in a double-overtime stalemate Thursday night in the fifth-annual "Kickin' Cancer" awareness game at Linn-Mar.
"Sometimes you just got to think about what they're thinking, and if they're trying to trick you," Frese said of her penalty-kick strategy. "My team fought the whole game, they never gave up, and we finished it off like we needed to."
The squads adorned contrasting pink jerseys in support of cancer awareness, which neither school has been immune from. Kennedy sophomore golfer Drew Wall inspired many during his battle with bone cancer, which eventually claimed his life in October. Linn-Mar parent Doug Wick posted Mar. 4 on his Positioning Systems website that his leukemia diagnosis continues to be in remission. Class of 2013 Linn-Mar student Megan Scott is memorialized in the northeast corner of the Linn-Mar football stadium with a placard beneath a lion statue. Scott lost her battle with brain cancer in May of 2011.
In addition, funds were raised by both schools leading up to the game in the form of bake sales, bracelet and t-shirt sales, and a raffle.
After a scoreless first half played in windy drizzle with temperatures in the mid-30's, Kennedy (1-3, 1-1 MVC) tried to turn up the heat in the second. An aggressive, attacking offensive strategy largely played on the Linn-Mar side for the final 35 minutes of regulation yielded no goals against Frese.
"They battled themselves and the weather tonight," Linn-Mar coach Steve Dickinson said. "They supported each other, one would pressure and the other would support. They did a nice job of not letting Kennedy get a good look."
Linn-Mar (2-0, 2-0 MVC) used its fearless defenders to block multiple Cougar shot attempts and create a logjam in any passing lanes.
"I trust my defenders with my life, they keep me so safe back there," Frese said. "It did take a long time for that second half to pass, but we did it."
The Lions travel to Dubuque Wahlert Monday, while Kennedy hosts Cedar Rapids Washington on Tuesday.