Girls Soccer: Sandburg tops Stagg in special matchSarah Mussallem, of Stagg, tries to get a shot off ahead of a rushing Sandburg's Emily Osoba at Stagg, Thursday, April 12th, 2012 in Palos Hills, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 12, 2012 9:27PM
Thursday’s match between Stagg and Sandburg was played with the typical intensity of any meeting between the rivals.
On this night, though, the Chargers and Eagles came together with common goals: to raise money for cancer research and honor the memory of Cheryl Kaim.
Sandburg rallied for a 3-2 SouthWest Suburban crossover win in the inaugural Red Card Cancer match in Palos Hills.
The event was held in honor of Kaim, mother to three former Stagg soccer players — Brittany, Julie and Allison — and “the ultimate soccer mom”, according to Stagg coach Mike Kealy. Cheryl Kaim died in September after a two-year battle with cancer.
Both teams wore special “Red Card Cancer” T-shirts throughout the match and proceeds from admission, raffles and T-shirt sales — estimated at $2,500 — were donated to Johns Hopkins Cancer Research.
“What an amazing night in every way,” Kealy said. “Sandburg battled back, we battled back, and it was so appropriate because Cheryl was such a battler. I really miss her, but I know she would have been happy to see what happened tonight.”
Brittany Kaim, a 2006 Stagg graduate, and her father, John, attended the event.
“This event is honoring my mom in such a wonderful way,” Brittany said. “I know she would be grateful. Us girls are so tough because of my mom. I’m so proud to be her daughter.”
Sarah Mussallem scored twice for Stagg (6-4-1) and was named the winner of the Cheryl Kaim Strength-Courage-Heart Award.
“It’s such an honor,” Mussallem said. “I just hope I made (Cheryl Haim) proud. We really wanted to win this, but I think we played a great game.”
After Mussallem struck first six minutes into the second half, Sandburg (4-2-2) responded with three consecutive scores. Emily Osoba, Shannon Stearns and Morgan Manzke found the net for the Eagles, with Sioban Mulvey dishing out two assists.
“We really needed this win,” Sandburg coach Desi Vuillaume said. “I’m glad Stagg let us be a part of this. We have a lot of girls who grew up and played with the Kaims, and this meant a lot to them.”
Mussallem scored on a penalty kick with 2:28 left, but it wasn’t enough for Stagg.
Still, the loss didn’t make the night any less special.
“It was a battle, but afterward we were able to come together with the Sandburg girls and take pictures together and laugh about it,” Mussallem said. “It was for such a great cause.”