BY DARREN REESE
Tuesday was a special night for the Chuckey-Doak girls' soccer squad.
Not only did head coach Anna Ricker honor her 2012 seniors playing in the final regular season home game of their careers, but the team also used the event as its annual fundraiser for the Shriners Hospital.
And then there was the soccer contest, itself, which was particularly special for Hannah Riddle.
Chuckey-Doak's senior forward scored five goals to push her season total to 32 - a new school record. Riddle's efforts were enough to power the Lady Knights past East, 5-3.
"It was a very emotional night," Ricker said. "With everything going on, I was proud of the effort that the girls gave tonight. "
This marked the third straight year that Chuckey-Doak has held the Shriners Night fundraiser. Tuesday they honored two young Shriners Hospital patients - Riley Dean, who is Ricker's nephew, and Ty Wilhoit, who is the nephew of Chuckey-Doak middle school teacher Kelyn Norton.
"(The girls) felt like they had to play tonight for Riley and Ty," Ricker said. "If (those two boys) can come as far as they have with the help of Shriners - neither of those boys would be able to walk - so if they can run around and play, there is no excuse for the girls to not give 100 percent."
The team served a dinner and also sold shirts, bracelets and concessions in order to raise money for the cause.
"This is a big thing for our team," Riddle said. "These kids weren't supposed to walk, and now they can. It's something close to coach Ricker, and we feel blessed to be a part of it."
The emotion from the pre-game ceremony, in which both boys walked out with the team and were presented an autographed team soccer ball, carried over for the Lady Knights in the early minutes of the contest.
Chuckey-Doak quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead when Riddle scored on a pair of breakaways in a one-minute span during the 14th minute.
Not to be outdone though, East got quick goals from Liza Kohler and Savannah Price in the 18th minute to pull even.
But Riddle struck again in the 33rd minute to send the Lady Knights to intermission with a 3-2 lead.
"We moved the ball better tonight than we have been," Riddle said. "This was probably my favorite game of the season, just because it was senior night and I was able to beat the record and we got the win."
The second half saw the scoring cool off until a late flurry of goals in the final ten minutes.
Chuckey-Doak had a handful of good looks early in the frame but couldn't find the back of the net. On the other side, East had a couple of quality scoring attempts thwarted by Lady Knights' keeper Ashley Anderson.
But the Lady 'Canes made things exciting down the stretch, as Kohler was rewarded a penalty kick in the 70th minute and snuck it into the left side of the net.
Whatever thoughts East entertained of escaping with a tie quickly vanished, though, thanks to the resiliency of Riddle and company.
Though the Lady Knights could have hung their heads over the equalizer, they chose to fire back instead. With five minutes left on the clock, Riddle beat two defenders down the middle of the field and chipped the ball over East keeper Allyson Cagle to put the home team back in front 4-3.
And for good measure, Riddle added another goal two minutes later to make the final score.
"That fourth goal was probably my favorite of the night," Riddle said. "I was happy to help my team get the win."
Anderson finished with 11 saves for Chuckey-Doak.