By Scott Mitchell
Droves of pink-clad fans came out to support the Brookhaven College Lady Bears volleyball team at the annual Dig Pink game. The night was marked as a success, with the Lady Bears players topping their fundraising expectations as well as defeating the North Lake Lady Blazers.
The Dig Pink match has become a mainstay of the Lady Bears’ volleyball season, as well as the Brookhaven events calendar. It functions as more than just a game: T-shirts and baked goods are sold prior to the game, in addition to donations being raised at the game itself. All money raised went to the Side-Out Foundation, a non-profit organization that works with athletic teams to raise money for breast cancer research, Brookhaven volleyball coach Jason Hopkins said.
Brookhaven President Dr. Thom Chesney even plans the game into his annual calendar. For the second year in a row, Chesney donated one dollar for each fan who attended the game wearing pink, and for the second year in a row, student and faculty volunteers stood guard outside the metal double doors of the gymnasium to ensure that no fan entered the facility without a pink sticker and a wealth of breast cancer information.
The game itself was a hard- fought win for the Lady Bears. After consistent back and forth play between the Lady Bears and the Lady Blazers and a loss in one set, Brookhaven held on for a 3-1 victory. “The match went well; certainly a win is always a good thing,” Hopkins said. “We played scrappy. We were out of system quite a lot but managed to hang on.”
Lauren Bratton led the team with 14 kills, 10 digs and an ace. Sarah White gathered 34 assists, 4 kills, 8 digs and an ace. The triumph continued the Lady Bears’ winning streak, bringing the team to a 5-0 record in the Metro Athletic Conference.
The fundraising proved to be an even more rousing victory for the Lady Bears as the players shattered their fundraising goal of $1,200, garnering a grand total of $1,451.60. The breakdown of the donations, according to Lynne Levesque, Brookhaven athletic director, was $866 from T-shirt sales, $303.60 from the bake sale, $132 from donations made at the game and $150 from Chesney for each fan wearing pink.
Even though this year’s Dig Pink game exceeded expectations, both Chesney and Hopkins seek to improve the results in following years. Hopkins said, “In next year’s match we hope to again exceed our goal amount and pick up another victory.” Chesney, after hearing rumors of students wanting to start tailgating for bigger rivalry games, said, “One could imagine how that could lead to increased attendance and fundraising alike several times over.”
Hopkins said the key to improving upon their success is to improve community involvement. “The more the community involvement the better,” Hopkins said. “I do plan on reaching out to local middle and high schools to help fill our gym for next year’s match.”
The next big game for the Lady Bears is the Metro Athletic Conference semi-finals on Oct. 25 at a to be announced location. To keep up with the Lady Bears, readers can visit the women’s volleyball page on the Brookhaven College website.