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Northeastern girls soccer hosts, "Abby's Practice" at Northeastern. Proceeds from the event will help build the Abby Osborn Scholarship Fund.

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The scoreboard at one end of the Northeastern High School football stadium read "Abby Osborn" with the number "20" displayed throughout.

Hanging by one of the entrances to the field was a black No. 20 Northeastern girls' soccer jersey that members of the girls' soccer team walked past as they entered the stadium.

It was all done in memory of Abby Osborn, a former friend and teammate of the girls on the Bobcats' soccer team. Osborn was killed in a hit-and-run accident in April. Osborn would have been a senior this year and was set to be a starting midfielder for the girls' soccer team, just as she was last season as a junior.

On Wednesday, Aug. 16, the program held its inaugural "Abby's Practice" to pay tribute to Osborn.

"This is the first full, official week, and I wanted everyone who's part of our program to be a part of this," head coach Diana Collier said. "We invited in community members and a lot of kids out of our youth program here at NEYSA (Northeastern Youth Soccer Association) and Northeastern area."

Raising money: During the practice, which Collier plans to hold annually, each high school player was paired with a middle school or youth player to help in drills.

The youth and middle school players each had to pay $25 to register for the practice, which included a T-shirt that was made honoring Osborn. The fee, however, wasn't just for the T-shirt. It's main purpose was to benefit the newly-founded Abby Osborn Scholarship that was created in Osborn's honor.

According to Collier, the practice raised about $1,500 that will go toward the scholarship.

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Northeastern has already retired Osborn's No. 20, so no other player in program history will wear that number.

The death of Osborn struck the team hard back in the spring. Some wounds may have gradually healed over the summer, but now that practice has begun, not seeing Osborn on the field has brought back a lot of the original feelings of loss.

"I think the one thing that we all are doing is supporting each other," senior captain Brittany Arentz said. "We're constantly there for each other when needed. Some of the captains, (Amanda) Bentz, Celeste (Workman) and I, we want the freshmen and anyone who needs support to come and talk to us." 

Hit-and-run: Osborn was discovered severely injured from a hit-and-run accident at 1 a.m. April 23. She was immediately airlifted to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where she died the following day.

"It was mostly just shock and disbelief," senior midfielder Gabby Versace said. "Abby was always a fighter, and the fact that she was just gone was shocking to think about."

David Michael Kent Jr., 24, of York Haven was charged in the death of Osborn. He has been charged with accidents involving death or personal injury, failure to stop and render aid, failure to notify police of an accident involving injury or death and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

During a preliminary hearing in July, District Judge Scott Gross determined there was enough evidence that Kent can face trial in the York County Court of Common Pleas.

Kent, who is free of $30,000 bail, is to be arraigned on Friday, Aug. 18.

Fierce competitor: Off the field, Osborn was spoken of as a caring person who always knew how to make a person feel special.

On the soccer field, however, there was a different side of her. While she still had respect for her opponents, Osborn wasn't afraid to get tough with them. She would do whatever it took to win back the ball and help her team win.

It's something that all the players hope lives on with them this season.

"She could be a little feisty sometimes," Arentz said. "She was aggressive and very talkative, and she wasn't afraid to go through somebody to get the ball. So, just thinking about how she played will also motivate us because she was definitely one of our most aggressive players last year."

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com

 

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