ORONO — Combining sports and philanthropy, Orono soccer held its annual Kick Cancer game Thursday, Aug. 29, to raise money for a local family.

Each year at the Kick Cancer game, Orono soccer honors community members fighting cancer while both the girls and boys teams play back-to-back matches.

“This is such an important part of our season,” Orono girls soccer coach Erin Murray told Lakeshore Weekly News. “For the last three years, we have done this game for an individual, whether in honor of them or in memory of them. It’s unfortunate that we always have someone to do the game for, but, at the same time, it really makes it special.”

This year, Orono played DeLaSalle, located in Minneapolis, and honored two community members — Orono alum and current DeLaSalle teacher Jeremy Zavitz and Lucy Lyngen, No. 22 and senior captain of the DeLaSalle girls soccer team.

Zavitz, who played for the Orono boys soccer team for four years, has had three operations to fight brain cancer and will soon undergo undergo chemotherapy treatments, his Caring Bridge page says, which can be found at https://tinyurl.com/y4aj3obu.

Lyngen, a 17-year-old three-sport athlete, has Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is undergoing her final chemotherapy treatment plan, according to her Caring Bridge page, which can be found at https://tinyurl.com/y3z7m658.

This is the third year Orono soccer has held the Kick Cancer game. The Orono girls team won 1-0 and the DeLaSalle boys team won 2-1.

Murray this year was particularly special because one of the players was fighting cancer.

“Seeing Lucy play last night was one of the most inspirational things I have seen as a coach in my 15 years,” Murray told the paper on Friday, Aug. 30. “The girls could not stop talking about her.”

Before the game, Murray said she had each of the players write who they are playing for on a sheet of paper with a ribbon on it. This brings even more meaning to the game, as so many of her players have been touched by cancer.

A portion of T-shirt sales and donations from the event went to Zavitz’s family, with Murray noting it raised $1,300 for them. A GoFundMe page for Zavitz and his family is at https://tinyurl.com/y247qm53.

Frances Stevenson is a reporter for the Lakeshore Weekly News, covering the communities around Lake Minnetonka.

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