Playing for others, Lincoln-Way East’s Camden Cosich scores goal in Kick 4 A Cure game. ‘It’s really special.’

On a night when Lincoln-Way East and Lincoln-Way West came together to raise money for breast cancer research, the Griffins’ Camden Cosich had a pair of people on her mind.

Carly Metschke, a cancer survivor, and Annie Ozinga, who is currently battling the disease, are both family friends. Cosich said she was playing for them Thursday night.

That made it even more meaningful when the sophomore defender scored the first goal of her high school career.

“It’s really special that I got to score for them, and I think just the game in general is really special for West and East,” Cosich said. “No matter the outcome of the game, it’s just a really important cause.”

Cosich’s goal in the second half helped host Lincoln-Way East secure a 2-0 win over the Warriors in the Kick 4 A Cure game in Frankfort.

Kara Waishwell also scored for the Griffins (6-2), while Mattea Arroyo made a pair of saves to record the shutout. Cora Franczyk had six saves for Lincoln-Way West (4-3).

Cosich teamed with Mia Hedrick, Julia Chonarzewski and Hannah Tokarski to lead the defense for the Griffins, who recorded their sixth shutout of the season.

As a freshman last year, Cosich went from a reserve outside defender to a starting center back after Thea Gerfen suffered a season-ending injury in the final month.

Cosich helped the Griffins finish fourth in Class 3A, and the challenge of taking on such a big responsibility in her first high school season turned her into an even stronger player.

“It was a lot because everyone’s older and everyone’s really strong,” Cosich said. “You have to be aggressive as a center back. You have to step into a leadership role. You can’t be afraid to tell people what to do.

“Now, I’m comfortable with the role, and me and Mia have a little system going. It just works.”

Hedrick, a senior, has been an important mentor for Cosich.

“I used to play outside back, so when (coach Mike Murphy) moved me to center back, Mia stepped in and told me everything I needed to know,” Cosich said. “She’s just the best leader out there.”

Hedrick, who had heard good things about Cosich before she got to Lincoln-Way East, was quite impressed once she got to play with her.

“I really can’t take all the credit because she came in really good,” Hedrick said. “She’s so outgoing. She’s a hard worker. She’s fast to the ball. I can trust her.

“In the back, it’s all about trust, and I know I have someone really good to back me up.”

Waishwell started the scoring Thursday for Lincoln-Way East, finding the net in the fifth minute.

“It kind of bounced off my knee,” Waishwell said. “That wasn’t really intentional, but it went in, so I’ll take it. I feel like scoring that first goal early brings up the energy and gets everyone going.”

Cosich provided the insurance with 19:39 to go. After a Griffins’ corner kick was broken up, she collected a loose ball just outside the box and lofted a shot into the top of the net.

“I was just following their forward and Mia was like, ‘Oh, Cam, I know you want to go up,’” Cosich said. “I went up and the ball came to me, and in the moment, I just knew it was going to go in.

“Everyone’s energy just made the moment so much better.”

Cosich certainly makes the Griffins better.

“Last year, we’d always have Camden play some at center back and I told her it was to get her ready just in case someone got hurt,” Murphy said. “Unfortunately, Thea got hurt, but Camden just did a great job taking over.

“Now, she just keeps improving. She consistently does a great job for us.”