Before the Maryland women’s soccer match last Thursday against George Washington, the Terps came together to take a picture with a sign that said “We Play For 3.”
And just before kickoff, a moment of silence was held to honor the memory of Cincinnati women’s soccer player Ally Sidloski.
Sidloski died in May, drowning at the age of 21, having recently completed her sophomore soccer season.
Maryland players Hope Lewandoski, Loren Sefcik and Brooke Weston, all Ohio natives, played with Sidloski when they were younger.
“She really was just the most incredible person,” Lewandoski said of Sidloski. ”I trained with her during the summers, I trained with her during winter break … it’s just absolutely heartbreaking the tragedy that happened.”
Lewandoski played club soccer with Sidloski for Ambassadors FC and played club soccer with Ally’s sister, Katie, when she was in high school.
Knowing the family well, Lewandoski was heartbroken when she heard the news, but feels Sidloski is still with her.
“I think over the last couple months like since Ally’s been gone, she’s shown so many ways of how she’s still here on this earth blessing over us,” Lewandoski said.
Since Sidloski’s death, many college women’s soccer teams, as well as other high school and college teams, have used the hashtag “#WePlayFor3” on social media to honor Sidloski, who wore No. 3 for the Bearcats.
— Maryland W. Soccer (@TerpsWSoccer) September 2, 2021
There were also multiple events at the University of Cincinnati to honor Sidloski this past weekend, including a memorial walk and a 33-second round of applause held before the Bearcats’ game on Sunday.
Sidloski’s parents were awarded their daughter’s posthumous degree at Cincinnati’s football game halftime on Saturday, where it was also announced the athletics department’s annual Bearcats STRONG award will be renamed to the Ally Sidloski Bearcats STRONG award.
Before Maryland’s match against George Washington, Lewandoski said the team is planning to put together a donation to give to the #WePlayFor3 Ally Sidloski Memorial Fund.
“We just wanted to do something to show her family support,” Lewandoski said.
Coach Ray Leone was proud that the Terps were able to honor Sidloski before the game, and knew how much it meant to everyone on the team — especially the players who knew her.
“That was a really important moment for our team,” Leone said after the match. “It is very emotional for them … I know it was important to them, they grew up with that young lady and they really, they put their heart in that game, I really believe for her.”
Lewandoski would go on to score during the match, taking two touches before her strike crept into the bottom corner off the hands of the Colonials’ goalkeeper. It was a special moment for the midfielder.
“That [goal] was for her truly and I’m just blessed to be able to play this game and think of her and represent her every single time I’m on the field,” she said.“I think to score on this night just kind of shows that like, she’s still with me, she’s still with all the girls on this team.”