Viera, Holy Trinity make Pink Game a special night


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Viera High senior Kendall Mall sets up for the kill during Tuesday night's 9th annual Pink Game to raise money for breast cancer research and education. The Hawks defeated the Holy Trinity Tigers 3-1..

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

On a night dedicated to helping support breast cancer research, the Viera High volleyball team scored a 3-1 victory over visiting Holy Trinity.

“We put a little pressure on ourselves, just knowing we had never beaten Holy Trinity in this gym before,” senior outside hitter Cailea Gibbs said. “That was a goal that we set for ourselves at the beginning of the game.”

Viera would prevail by scores of 26-24, 25-19, 23-25 and 25-18 in match that will no doubt help both teams as they prepare for next week’s district tournaments.

However, this was clearly a night that was about more than volleyball.

Money raised from the game will benefit the Side-Out Foundation, which raises money through volleyball to support breast cancer research and education.

The Viera gym was a sea of pink for the ninth annual Pink Game.

Players handed out pink carnations to people in the crowd whose lives have been affected by breast cancer, and Suntree Elementary teacher Penny King told her story of surviving the disease and stressed the importance of early detection.

The game, which has raised more than $15,000 over the years, has become quite a tradition at Viera. It’s a date on the calendar the players certainly put a big circle around.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Gibbs said. “It’s something you look forward to every year. You get the whole school involved. You go to lunch, you tell your friends to come out. And there’s pink everywhere. You get to wear pink jerseys.

“Having a person come out and tell their story is just an amazing thing, because sometimes you overlook stuff like that.”

On top of a post-game prize raffle, a serving contest and the announcement that because Viera High raised the most money principal Mike Alba will be getting a pie in the face at a soon-to-be-determined date, fans got to see a pretty exciting volleyball match

The first game went back and forth with Holy Trinity rallying to tie the score at 24-24 before Viera closed it out with back-to-back points. The Hawks would grab an early 11-3 lead in Game 2 on their way to going up 2-0 before the Tigers came back strong to force a fourth game.

Once again, Viera got out to an early lead and secured the win to improve to 16-8

“We played great,” Hawks coach Sarah Wayne said, “We didn’t pass as well as I wanted s to, but we came together and we finished in the end when it really mattered.”

Gibbs led Viera with 25 kills. Allison Foy had 30 digs and Nina Alvarez finished with 29 assists.

Holy Trinity coach Pete Klonowski gave plenty of credit to the Hawks.

“I think they played a lot better than we did,” he said. “(It was) a lot of the little things. When we got out of our offensive system, we made a lot of hitting errors.”

Klonowski also praised Viera’s ability to take care of the ball and keep points alive, while noting his team was having trouble hitting its service zones.

“When we hit the zones that we wanted to serve, we were giving them problems. When we didn’t, they were siding out pretty consistently. It was a tough game. They’re a good opponent and they caused us some problems.”

Kendall Vaught led the Tigers with nine kills while Dominique Rosseau had eight. Taya Britten had eight blocks, while Hailey Vice had four blocks, 29 assists and one ace.

Megan Sweeney and Hanna McClatchey each had 11 digs. McClatchey also had an ace.

The Tigers are seeded second in next week’s Class 4A, District 7 tournament and will open at home against Cocoa on Monday. Holy Trinity is the defending district champion.

“Hopefully, we can put a good run together for the district tournament,” Klonowski said.

Viera, the third seed in Class 7A, District 6, will host Melbourne in the first round on Monday.

And after playing in a prestigious tournament over the weekend, the Hawks are feeling good.

“I think we’ve proven ourselves,” Gibbs said. “We went to the Dig Pink Tournament this past weekend and we played against some of the top teams in the state. I think that was a good experience.

“We didn’t have a winning record coming out of the tournament, but I think we still proved to ourselves, to our fans, to anyone who was watching that we deserved to be up at that top level.”

Note: A photo gallery from this game can be found by clicking: http://www.vieravoice.com/Galleries/index.php/gallery/730/