By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/25/17
NEW EGYPT, N.J. – Kara Rahaim knows how tough the competition is at the Lax for the Cure. So, after her STEPS 2019 Blue club edged Hero’s, 2-1, for the division championship Saturday at New Egypt High, it was easy to appreciate the accomplishment.
“It’s really great to come and win; there’s a lot of great competition – the best of the best are here,” said Rahaim, a 2019 goalie from Ridgewood High who is committed to Stanford. “And to come out as champion our division is really a testament to how well our team played the whole way through.
“Even in the playoffs we used the shortened time to our advantage by altering our style of play to come out and win.”
Lax for the Cure, hosted by STEPS, has become one of the biggest events of the summer and the year in girls’ lacrosse. The three-day tourney drew over 275 teams and more than 200 college coaches this year; but more importantly it’s a major fundraiser for the fight against breast cancer. Coming into this year’s event Lax for the Cure had raised more than $2.1 million and this year’s event has raised several hundred thousand more.
South Jersey Select Pink 2018 was the top team fundraiser and Phantastix Purple was second. Olivia Doody fo the Phantastix was the top 2019 individual fundraiser and Lauren Figura of the SJ Devils was the top 2018 fundraiser (see attached photo with individual and team fundraiser champions).
“I think (STEPS director) Charlie Shoulberg said it could be a record amount of money raised this year, which is great,” Rahaim said. “It’s good that people not only come out and play hard, but that there is a reason behind the jersey and stick. It’s for breast cancer.”
In Saturday’s 2019 semifinals, Hero’s (MD) edged the LI Yellowjackets, 4-3, in a Braveheart. Because the semis and finals went back-to-back, STEPS had a little break to prepare.
“I think it was good for us to decompress and get some time before the next game,” said Rahaim of the time spent waiting for the championship game foe. “We knew that the two teams battling it out in the Braveheart were really good teams and we knew whichever team won would be a good challenge. The break time just gave us time to get ready for it.”
STEPS coach Ali Cassera was proud of her team’s performance.
“It feels great to be able to come out and win this one,” she said. “Obviously, we host it. I played for STEPS and used to play in this tournament and this is the first year getting back into it and it’s cool to win this one.
“They worked so hard this weekend. It’s a tough schedule and they showed up every game and pushed hard.
“I think this was the first tournament I saw them come together as a team. They had played more like individuals the last few (tournaments) and we clicked this time. Our transition game was awesome, the defense was solid – even when we were a man down –
and our communication and goaltender was phenomenal.”
Other champions from Lax for the Cure
2018 – M&D 18 Black 4, LI Yellowjackets Rose 2
2020 – M&D 20 Black 6, MD United 2020 East 2
(2020-2025 champions will be decided today)