CAC goalie turns tragedy into triumph

NORTH LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- It's a week full of mixed emotions for the CAC Lady Mustangs soccer team. They're one win from the state title.

But the emotions are nothing to what goalie Josie Bates battled last week.

After a long battle with cancer, her dad, Steve, passed away.

"It's just not something you can prepare yourself for. It still hurts. I haven't quite figured out how to deal with it yet. It's painful. It's the worst feeling I've ever felt in my entire life," Bates said.

She attended her dad's wake Friday, and his funeral Saturay afternoon. In between, she played goalie in the state semifinals.

"I was very upset but I knew that there was no part of me that was going to leave my team."

Her team wore bracelets in Steve's honor and surprised her with a cheer.

In goal, she didn't allow a single shot. CAC won 1-0.

"It was hard not to have a tear in your eye seeing that and then immediately you could tell, OK, this isn't over," said Head Coach Carter Lambert.

The Mustangs' main goal is still in front of them; Saturday at 10, they play Gentry for a state championship.

"It means a lot more for me this year than it did freshman year, when we took the title, and more than any game I've ever played," Bates said.

"I am in fact playing every second of it for my dad."

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