In a tournament that serves as a benefit for a paralyzed soccer player, the Oakdale Insanity Under 19 competitive girls team came home with first place honors and trophies signed by the tournament’s namesake, Cassy Rowe.
Paralyzed in a freak accident during a game at the same Cherry Island soccer complex near Sacramento where the tourney is played, Cassy was 16-years-old and a junior at Roseville High School when she suffered the catastrophic injury.
Previous years have seen the benefit tournament offered in January, but this year the late summer date allowed the Insanity to participate. They were Oakdale’s lone representative in the multi-team and age level tournament and defeated three out of four opponents on their way to the U19 title. They tied one game as well but came away with 34 out of a possible 40 points in their division and topped second place Elk Grove (28) for the crown.
Saturday action saw the team take on Greenhaven Fierce and roar to a 4-0 win, with three goals from Sierra Lyman, with one unassisted and two with helpers from Danae Rose. Also scoring was Anna Ogden, who poked the ball in during a huge scramble in front of the net that also saw the ball touch the feet of Jessica Estrada, Denise Thompson and Montana Nunes during the battle.
Saturday’s second game was another 4-0 win, over Clarksburg, with two goals by Rose, one from Katie Homer and one from Lyman, off a throw in from Estrada. Thompson also had an assist, sending the ball to Emily Bennett, who headed a pass to Rose for the score. Also contributing solid efforts were Allyson Neves and Christina Bradshaw. Sunday, Elk Grove came in with a 3-0 mark and suffered their only defeat of the tournament against Oakdale, the Insanity continuing an outstanding defensive weekend with their third consecutive shutout. Stalwart work from Katelyn Jackson, Julianne Kummer, Taylor Thatcher, Alyssa Perigen, Ally Jackson and Helena Hoover, backed up by keeper Leah Martinez, kept a frustrated Elk Grove team from breaking through. Rose got Oakdale’s first goal of that game with an assist from Brittany Carpenter, and two second half goals, Bennett with the assist from Homer and Bennett again, off a throw in from Carpenter, provided the margin of victory. In the finale, Oakdale took a 1-0 lead against the 49er Rampage out of Auburn with a picture perfect goal, Lyman in full stride knocking it in past the keeper on a cross from Rose. A late foul called against Oakdale away from the ball awarded the Rampage a free kick and they converted that to forge a 1-1 tie. The Auburn squad took third place honors.
Watching the second half of the game from her wheelchair on the sidelines, Cassy – who was at the complex visiting with players and sharing her story throughout the weekend – cheered both teams and then posed for photos with the squads. Oakdale’s girls, who typically cross the field in a ‘cool down’ lap following every contest, this time ran to the sideline and applauded for Cassy as she smiled her appreciation.
“It was a very inspiring weekend,” said Insanity coach Brian Orr. “It was for a great cause, a benefit tournament, and the girls all played extremely well. We had great work from our forwards, the defense allowed only one goal all weekend, the girls that came off the bench when called on were ready to go, they all worked together and deserved that first place trophy.”
Despite the long weekend of soccer, Cassy was happy to smile for the cameras with the Insanity and then autographed each player’s trophy.
“I need the practice,” she said of working on her penmanship.
She has regained partial use of her arms but remains confined to a wheelchair from the accident, which occurred in August, 2008 and resulted in the breaking of her neck at the fifth vertebrae. She continues her rehabilitation and has set a goal to one day walk again. Sales of T-shirts and bracelets also helped support the benefit effort and Cassy’s story can be seen at cassyrowe.org.