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Soccer to Host "Kick for a Cure" Sunday

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Just as she has every autumn Sunday for the past two seasons, Miami Hurricanes sophomore Ally Andreini will take her regular spot in the midfield tomorrow afternoon. But her team’s matchup against new conference member and third-ranked Notre Dame might be the last thing on her mind by kickoff.

The Hurricanes, in partnership with the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, will host the Fighting Irish in its “Kick for the Cure” match. All of the day’s proceeds, which include sales from specially-designed shirts and a silent auction for an autographed team ball, will benefit the Sylvester Center.

Ally, whose mother Sandy was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer back in July, says Sunday’s match will take on personal significance for her and her family. Though she will survive her current condition, Sandy will need to continue chemotherapy treatment due to the cancer’s metastasis.

The Andreini’s, who are able to attend most of Ally’s games, have rallied behind Sandy’s diagnosis. Ally and her three sisters – Cassie (23), Mandi (16) and Adri (13) – wear “Sandy Strong” t-shirts with the tagline “no one fights alone.” The wristbands that Sandy’s family members and friends wear read “Team Andreini.”

“I’m so happy that we’re having this, and just excited for Sunday,” Ally said. “I really feel like I’m playing for her. It’s awesome.”

Ally, who hails from Oshkosh, Wisc., was able to see most of her family during the team’s September trip west for a matchup with the Milwaukee Panthers. But when her family isn’t in the stands, Ally stays in touch via FaceTime sessions over her iPhone, and her parents watch every game they can’t attend over Internet web-streaming.

“Every time she goes to treatment, my sisters or dad will send me tons of pictures, so it feels like I’m right there with everyone,” she said. “She’s doing great. I talk to her pretty much everyday.”

Ally says her teammates and coaches in Coral Gables have played pivotal roles in her most critical time of need. Head coach Mary-Frances Monroe made sure Ally returned to her family when she found out the saddening news – the date was July 18, just a few weeks after Monroe was hired – while teammates check in on a daily basis.

“All of them,” she replied when asked of which teammate has been most helpful. “They all have been there, asking me how I’m doing and how my mom is doing. And our coaches have been an amazing help.”

While the Hurricanes (6-4-0) prepare for their next grueling challenge in another top-ranked conference foe, Ally will channel her inner strength – just as she has all season.

“It’s going to be a special day,” she said. “I just can’t wait to get out there and play for her.”