WVB: Wilkes, DeSales promote Go for the Gold Foundation


Kirsten Peters

Sophomore setter Karlye Huffman prepares the ball for senior middle hitter Michele Natale in the third set against DeSales.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Last Tuesday, the Colonels took part in a match that was about more than just volleyball.

In Wilkes’ annual Pediatric Cancer Night, all the student-athletes for Wilkes and DeSales teamed up for the Go for the Gold Foundation to raise money and awareness about pediatric cancer.

“A couple years ago, we began this Pediatric Cancer Night because of a local young fellow by the name of Nathan Gray,” reflected head coach Joe Czopek. “Everyone else does the Susan B. Anthony charity for their causes, but we changed to the Go for the Gold Foundation because it helps the youth that are struck with the same disease. The Foundation keeps the money local, which is another reason we chose them.”

Colonels and the DeSales Bulldogs represented the cause by wearing custom-designed t-shirts during their warmups to promote the event and encourage fans to purchase t-shirts for $10.

The golden ribbon also represents pediatric cancer, which is why the women’s volleyball players wore yellow shoelaces to commemorate the event as well.

“Each year, we do a match with meaning, and I’m really glad we do it,” said senior outside hitter Alex Ferrier. “It means a lot to me to give back to this community.”

All of the proceeds from t-shirt sales were donated to the Go for the Gold Foundation.

Senior captain Jamey Mikovich emphasized the support Wilkes received during the evening’s event.

“It was really great to get DeSales in on wearing (Go for the Gold) shirts for warmups,” said Mikovich. “All the proceeds are going to the Go for the Gold Foundation, and we raised around $300-$400 for them, which was great to see.”

Despite the commendable efforts of Wilkes’ players with the theme for the night, their efforts on the court did not have the same impact.

DeSales defeated Wilkes in three straight sets of 25-17, 25-12 and 25-20.

For the majority of the first set, the competition was stiff between the two teams. Mikovich tallied four kills and senior defensive specialist Julie Murphy’s ace concluded the Colonels’ 13-12 run. The co-captains proved imperative, with Mikovich intervening in ten of Wilkes’ possessions and Murphy assisting in four major attacks.

Wilkes’ offense was sound until the eighteenth point of the match, when DeSales’ Georgia Traynor racked up seven consecutive service points and put the match out of the Colonels reach.

In the second set, DeSales went on several deep scoring runs to gain the advantage over Wilkes.

Sophomore defensive specialist Katie Evans sprinted out of bounds several times after a shanked pass to keep the ball in play for the Colonels. In addition, Ferrier kept Wilkes in contention with DeSales through her hustle and determination on the court.

“I knew I really had to push myself tonight because it was a big game for us,” said Ferrier. “It’s a big deciding factor on whether or not we go to playoffs.”

In the final set, the Colonels attempted to seek revenge and extend the game to four sets.

The front runners were Mikovich and senior middle hitter Michele Natale, who both slowed down the Bulldogs’ attacks.

“I have to focus,” said Mikovich. “Seeing where the blockers are is the most important thing. If I’m not really focused into the game, I won’t know where the blockers are and I won’t be able to hit around them.”

Despite the loss, Czopek noted that the players were successful in implementing a new blocking scheme.

“I thought we played well,” said Czopek. “We had one mental lapse in each set that cost of the match. We practiced for two weeks a new blocking scheme, and apparently, it did work for us. That’s a positive we can take into the last six matches.”

On Thursday, the Colonels demonstrated the effectiveness of this new blocking strategy in a five-set thriller with Penn State Berks, where Wilkes won 3-2.

Wilkes hits the court again at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow against Misericordia.