The Dexter Dreadnaughts hosted Pioneer in an SEC crossover soccer game on Thursday that had more meaning off the field than it did on the field. The two schools co-hosted a “Mental Health Awareness” game in honor of Dexter schools student Taylor Sturkie, who took her own life last year.
Fundraising efforts went to the National Alliance on Mental (NAMI) of Washtenaw County. NAMI is a non-profit organization and a local affiliate of the national NAMI and NAMI Michigan that aims to improve the lives of persons affected by mental illness. Individuals with these biological disorders, their families and mental health professionals, and the broader community can all benefit from the organization’s mission.
The two teams left their regular uniforms at home and instead wore t-shirts to help raise awareness for NAMI and mental health.
“We were honored to be included in this event and help bring continued attention to this very important and sensitive topic and highlight resources that are available in the community,” said Pioneer Coach Jon Sundermann.
The game itself was a well-played and evenly matched affair that ended in a 1-1 draw.
Pioneer’s Lewis Fichera opened the scoring with 16:35 left in the first half when he turned a rebound into a 1-0 lead for the visitors.
With 4:36 left in the first half, Dexter’s Hayden Newton scored off an assist by Simone Bulate to even the score at 1-1.
“Pioneer was a side that did a good job frustrating us in terms of how we usually like to play,” said Dexter Coach Drew Ducker. “They battled hard and were pretty physical as well.”
The Dreads came into the game on a five-game winning streak and improved to 5-1-2 on the season. Dexter has not lost since opening the year with a 3-2 loss to Tecumseh.
“Overall, the year has started well,” said Ducker. “With my first year being head coach, we are still trying to understand how we want to defend and attack as well as figuring out what players work well together and in what positions.
“The boys are a great group and work very hard. I’m looking forward to seeing how far we can go this year.”
The Pioneers, also with a new coach, are still trying to put the pieces together.
“Our possession game is continuing to progress as we are learning to compete on a more consistent basis,” said Sundermann. “If there was a single area to point to at this juncture of the season, is our need compete more consistently – throughout a game, game to game, and even down to a day to day basis at practice.
“We are getting solid contributions throughout the roster which could prove important as we are starting to see some injuries to key players.”
Pioneer split the goaltending duties between Ojanis (OJ) Frometas and Alex Szumko and got solid efforts from both keepers. Ali Houmani was solid moving to the back from his normal MF and Ian Figeroa stepped in nicely for the Pioneers.
“On the attacking side, Ben Matton, Macha Conde, Jackson Hall, and Jonah Gutenberg were dangerous and creative on/off the ball but the Dexter backline/GK was equal to the challenge and limited true scoring opportunities,” Sundermann said.
For more information on NAMI, log onto http://www.namiwc.org/
For more information on Taylor Sturkie, log onto http://welovedexter.com/dexter-responds-taylor-sturkies-suicide-outpouring-support/