0
Votes

Wildcats, Chargers Battle Breast Cancer Together

Teams sponsor Dig Pink event during Concorde District match.

When the Chantilly High School and Centreville High School volleyball teams faced off on Oct. 13, the on-court rivalry wasn't just between two cross-town opponents.

During the Concorde District match, girls on both teams helped raise awareness of a more pressing rivalry, that of women versus breast cancer.

Through Dig Pink, a cancer awareness rally sponsored by high school and college volleyball teams nationwide, the teams raised money for the Side-Out Foundation, which promotes breast cancer research and awareness.

The event featured prize drawings, T-shirt sales and both teams decked out in pink jerseys.

While the game was contested between two rival schools, the night was a more personal affair for two players, Chantilly's Jamie Gorman and Centreville's Megan Hutcheson.

"It's a personal issue for me because one of my best friends is affected by [breast cancer]," Gorman said. "We're all affected [by breast cancer] when someone we know has it. I understand how important it is [to raise awareness]."

Hutcheson also has a loved one who battled breast cancer.

"My grandmother had breast cancer and it makes it really special for her to see us raising awareness for those who have it," Hutcheson said. "I played for her and kept her in my mind. I wanted to represent her well because I was wearing pink."

Hutcheson said that this wasn't the first Dig Pink event that the Wildcats had played in this season. During a Dig Pink event with Oakton High School, her grandmother was recognized before the start of the match.

"It was really cool," she said. "She was able to go to the match and watch us play."

Chantilly's Jamie Gorman took the initial strides to make this season's event possible.

Chantilly Head Coach Charles Ezigbo said Gorman spearheaded the event.

"We got the ball rolling with [Gorman]," Ezigbo said. "We told her what we wanted to do and gave her the support she needed. This was about 95 percent her work."

Gorman said she was motivated to make sure Chantilly sponsored a Dig Pink event this season because of her friend’s experience with breast cancer and from participating in past events.

"It was really important for me to set it up," she said. "I wanted to make sure that [the event happened] because it's an important cause."

At the end, both sides said they were grateful to be part of Dig Pink.

"Any time you do something for a good cause, it makes you feel good," Ezigbo said. "To include so many people and see them take part and support us, it just makes you feel good."

Centreville Head Coach Ken Moser echoed Ezigbo's sentiments.

"It's a great cause and whenever someone calls you and asks you to do these events, you just do them," Moser said. "Chantilly did a great job and Oakton did a great job. Next year we'll host one back at our house. It's always fun."

Although breast cancer awareness dominated much of the evening’s discussion, the Centreville-Chantilly rivalry helped make the event a larger spectacle.

"It made it more special because it was a big game and we knew they'd be a tough competitor," Hutcheson said. "It was special because both of our teams take Dig Pink seriously."

Chantilly defeated Centreville 3-0, by the scores of 25-15, 25-11 and 25-15, but Centreville played strong defense and kept the pressure on the Chargers throughout much of the game.

The Chargers’ record improves to 12-2 and the Wildcats fall to 4-12