JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – Toll Gate’s Cassie Cirella scored two goals in the Titans Division III championship win on Sunday. But the Championship meant way more than just a piece of hardware for Cirella and her teammates.
Cirella’s older sister Gianna, died of sepsis while the Toll Gate goalie in 2017 at the age of 17. Toll Gate wore purple jerseys with the hashtag “Gi Strong” labeled on them as a way to honor Gianna.
“My sister passed away during the 2017 season so we just got these jerseys this year as a remembrance and playing in memory of her,” Cirella said.
Toll Gate’s 3-1 win over Narragansett was a culmination of hard work and determination.
“We had a talk about it before the game. We know she’s there. We play for her, most of us do so it’s amazing to be able to wear this jersey,” Cirella said.
Cirella’s mom Tara was seen cheering throughout the game and says Cassie’s teammates kept her alive.
“There were days that my husband and I were one thousand percent sure that if she didn’t have this team, she…we don’t know,” Tara Cirella said.
Cassie and her class were Freshman when Gianna passed away. They now celebrate this championship together.