CHAMPAIGN — Centennial and Central played a Big 12 Conference soccer match Tuesday.
One, though, with a bigger meaning than just the final score.
Both rivals teamed up for the second annual Pinkout Game, held at the UI Turf Fields, and more than $800 was raised to benefit the American Cancer Society.
Centennial came away with a 4-1 win behind two goals and an assist from Dagny Olson.
The Chargers (7-4-2, 3-1-1 Big 12) and Maroons (8-6-2, 3-3) will meet again in two weeks in a Class 2A Urbana Regional semifinal match. The fate of each team’s season will be at stake, but Tuesday’s match showed more was at stake than just soccer.
“It’s a fierce rivalry, but it’s done in the right way,” Central coach Mick Galeski said. “You can compete without going over the top, and these girls showed that.”
Centennial coach Hsiung Marler agreed.
“It says on the T-shirt that life is bigger than any game,” he said. “That’s the slogan we came up with last year. We talk about things outside the field, about opportunities and who has those opportunities, and taking advantage of what we’re given. I think they really understand there’s so much more going on than just a high school soccer game.”
Centennial led 3-0 at halftime after Olson scored both of her goals in the first half, and Sara Regan added the other tally.
“I thought in the first 40 minutes we did a good job of getting the ball first,” Marler said. “I like the number of headers we won. I thought we kept the pressure on them, and I felt we did a good job overall of marking some of their key players.”
Central cut it to 3-1 on an unassisted goal by Hannah Walker in the first five minutes of the second half, and the Maroons had another shot on goal hit off the crossbar five minutes later. Centennial’s Katelynn Martinez ended the scoring off an assist from Olson while Chantal Meacham assisted on Olson’s first goal.
“Dagny did a good job of getting open,” Marler said. “In a big game like this, where she was given a lot of attention, too, she proved she was a big talent.”