Koroshetz’s Inspirational Return to Colgate Women’s Soccer

Koroshetz's Inspirational Return to Colgate Women's Soccer

Mike McMaster

Kiki Koroshetz was a three-time MVP at Brien McMahon High School. She lettered all four seasons, and earned all-county and all-state honors. A star in high school, Koroshetz’s success did not fade as she elevated her game to Division I at Colgate. As a first-year, the 5’6″ defender from Norwalk, Connecticut started in 18 of the Raiders’ 19 games. In her sophomore year, she started in every game. For Koroshetz, the fall was synonymous with soccer season, and her success on the field had become as traditional as the leaves falling off the trees.

In August 2008, Koroshetz’s preparation for her junior season with the Raiders was cut short. She was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare pediatric cancer that presents itself in bones and soft tissue. Unable to attend classes in the fall, she was placed under treatment immediately.

Her teammates were shocked by the suddenness of her illness, but the women’s soccer team was quick to rally around her, hosting a 5K walk/run in honor of their teammate. Organized in large part by senior captain Jillian Fonseca, the event raised $8,000 for cancer research.

After the run last year, Koroshetz told The Maroon-News that she was, “looking forward to that time in the future when this will all be a part of my memory.”

In January, Koroshetz successfully finished her treatment, and rejoined her team and classmates at Colgate. Taking only one semester off, Koroshetz won her battle with cancer and was able to continue her everyday life here at Colgate.

Throughout her battle with cancer, Koroshetz maintained an attitude of uncanny optimism, and she cherished any opportunity that she had to be up at Colgate with her teammates. In the spring, the Colgate community recognized her inspirational battle against cancer, and an award was founded in her name at the second annual all-sports banquet at Cotterell Court.

Colgate head coaches will now present the Kiki Koroshetz Award on occasion to students who “exemplify unwavering strength and remarkable courage.”

Returning to Patriot League competition for the first time since 2007, Koroshetz is now the captain of the women’s soccer team. Playing in her third season with the Raiders, Koroshetz now remembers how difficult it was as an athlete and competitor to stay away from the game she loves.

“It was really tough,” Koroshetz said. “But with that said, I was even happier when I was able to make it to the games and watch my teammates and cheer them on.”

Talking to Kiki today, her modesty nearly betrays the enormity of her uplifting story of her victory over cancer. When asked if she has a new appreciation for the game after returning this fall, Koroshetz compared her battle with that of an athlete who tears their ACL.

“I think anyone who ever has any type of injury has a new respect for the game,” Koroshetz said. “And you feel really lucky to be able to play a sport that you really like and do what you want to do.”

Koroshetz said that her goal for this season is to win a Patriot League Championship and take home rings for her team. But beyond the soccer field, she also noted that she has come to appreciate the little things in life more.

“I definitely appreciate the small things,” Koroshetz said. “Just being able to drive around campus, to be with my friends, go to class, to do all the normal things that I did before, it means a lot.”

While Kiki continues to appreciate the small things in her life, Colgate has honored the big things. The Kiki Koroshetz Award will be her lasting legacy at the university, and it will remain here long after she has graduated and moved on to other things. When asked about having established a lasting legacy at Colgate, Koroshetz once again responded modestly.

“I don’t think its hit me yet,” Koroshetz said. “That’s kind of something that’s hard to grasp. I think that because I’m still a student and going through everything, I just don’t think of myself as anything out of the ordinary.”

“I think of myself as a regular 21 year-old college student, and I do the same things that all of my teammates do every day. So I don’t think it’s hit me yet. But I am so honored by the award and all of the support I’ve gotten from everyone in the athletic department, everyone on the staff here, my neighbors, and my friends. It’s been incredible.”

Koroshetz is still looking to record her first point this season. She will look to change that this Friday, when she and the rest of the Colgate women’s soccer team take on Syracuse at 7 p.m. at home.