DSC_0011Bright pink camouflage T-shirts dominated the Cahill gym on Wednesday. Literally, players of every level of girls’ volleyball donned the shirts, as well as their opponents, the Wheeling Wildcats, their coaches, the referees, officials at the scorer’s table and even fans in the stands.

Add in all the decorations around the gym—from balloons, ribbons and the pink electronic sign, to a banner that people could sign—it was a total pink-out!

For the 10th year, Saint Viator’s girls’ volleyball team partnered with the IHSA in a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, whose mission is to end breast cancer, forever.

“Working for a cause like this makes us stronger as a team,” said Kate Nottoli ’19, co-captain, “but working with another school shows us all that we can make a difference.”

Both Nottoli and her co-captain, Carrie Leazer ’19, led the 65 girls in the Saint Viator program in all aspects of the event, from designing and selling more than 300 T-shirts, to obtaining prizes for the raffle baskets, decorating the gym and even spray painting their hair pink.

“This is one of the highlights of the season for us,” Leazer said. “It’s just he best environment, with everyone feeling so passionately about this cause.”

DSC_0026Coach Charlie Curtin is in his 17th year as head varsity coach, and his teams have participated every year since the IHSA began the event. In his case, the cause is personal, since his mother died of the disease when he was 12 years old.

“As I’ve gone on in coaching, I realize it’s more than what happens on the court,” Coach Curtin said. “It’s the life lessons, about helping others and realizing the impact of what they’re doing on the court that can have such a positive effect on someone else.”

This was the first year the Lions partnered with Wheeling High School on the event and Wildcat Coach Jason Kopkowski said his team was thrilled to participate. Each girl raised money for the cause and the volleyball program matched their proceeds.

DSC_0003In the end, he expected the Wildcats to donate $1,000 toward the joint contribution from Wheeling and Saint Viator to the Susan B. Komen Foundation.

“I love the fact that my players are involved in something larger than themselves,” Coach Kopkowski said. “As female athletes, they should be involved in this cause that celebrates and honors those fighting breast cancer.”