NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — The West Essex and Mount Saint Dominick Academy girls volleyball teams took part in their annual “Dig Pink” Charity Volleyball Game on Monday night with the Lady Lions emerging with a 2-0 victory.
“It’s something that we’ve been doing for a long time,” said West Essex head coach Bill Humes. “There are so many things you talk about and deal with in high school sports. Everybody wants to win at the varsity level, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s so much more than that—it’s about playing with character and morals, it’s about playing together as a team, it’s about doing something charity wise as a team to help someone else in need.”
The game is designed as a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness and has raised thousands of dollars over the years. Players dawned pink shirts, headbands, and socks among other items to honor those affected by the disease.
“It’s something the kids really get into and love to do and I don’t think there’s anybody in this room who hasn’t been touched by someone who had cancer so it’s a real positive and something that we like to do,” said Humes.
The game itself was a clinic in a lot of ways by a more seasoned Mount Saint Dominic squad that boasts some of the best talent in the area. In game one, the younger Lady Knights squad, led by Marisa Lotitto, Dana Stelter and Neci Lac, managed to knot the game at 14. Ultimately, the Lady Lions went on an 11-2 run to close out game one as unforced errors doomed West Essex.
“The good was the best that we played all year but then we have those stretches of bad where we give up too many points and it takes us a while to fight out of it,” said Humes.
West Essex fought hard in the second and final game, but was outmatched by the Mount Saint Dominic team. Despite falling in game two, 25-10, emerging sophomores Jessica Coia and Dana Stelter managed to collect a pair of kills and blocks for the Lady Knights, who are developing a foundation for the future of the program.
“Hopefully we continue to build and get better year after year,” said Humes. “We can see ourselves getting better this year, we want to finish on a positive note.”
The Lady Knights will look to finish the season strong with two games left against Millburn and Newark Arts High School.