Walking into the Cahill gymnasium on Thursday, it was hard to tell the difference between the Saint Viator Lady Lions and the Cougars from Vernon Hills High School. Both teams wore pink T-shirts, designed with the logo, “Volley for the Cure.”dsc_2755

Even better, all the fans in the stands wore pink. Even the referee and officials at the scorekeeper’s table wore the game day T-shirt, and the gym itself was decorated with banners, a pink balloon arch and streamers.

It was a total pink-out!

For the eighth year, Saint Viator’s girls volleyball team partnered with the Cougars in a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, whose mission is to end breast cancer, forever. Since the start of their partnership, the teams have raised approximately $35,000.

Members of the varsity team pose with Assistant Coach Jim Neill, left, and Head Coach Charlie Curtain, right

Members of the varsity team pose with Assistant Coach Jim Neill, left, and Head Coach Charlie Curtin, right

The varsity game started with a moment of silence for women fighting the disease and those that have lost the battle. The teams even played with a pink ball.

Players said the competition started even before they took the floor — to raise money for the cause.

“We get really competitive about trying to sell more T-shirts than the year before,” says junior co-captain, Michaela Mueller. “It’s just such a fun tradition.”

She and her co-captains, Catherine Hickey ’18 and Katie Kerrigan ’17, helped organize a bake sale that took place during lunch periods and throughout the junior varsity and varsity games, as well as an extensive raffle table that featured more than 20 gift baskets. Even the ticket proceeds at the gate were dedicated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

“Ultimately, we’re trying to raise as much money as we can for a cure,” Katie said.

Head varsity coach Charlie Curtin said the team has participated every year since the IHSA began the event. In his case, it is a personal cause, since his mother died of the disease when he was 12 years old.

“I love doing this event because breast cancer has had an impact on my life personally, but everyone knows someone who is affected by this disease, unfortunately,” Coach Curtin says. “It allows our girls to break out of their bubbles as high schoolers and really have an impact on a worldly issue.”