The sixth annual 'Volley For a Cure,' always a big fundraiser for breast cancer awareness, turned out to be another gala event for high school girls volleyball on Thursday night.
And there was a special twist this year.
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Moments before the first serve, event coordinator Jackie Gronski took the microphone.
The Bison freshman 'A' coach and former varsity setter announced she had received a phone call from an anonymous person who was donating $100 for every ace in the match between host Buffalo Grove and Prospect.
"Oh my God," said Bison senior outside hitter Sarah Rivera. "When she announced that, we got the chills knowing we could save a life with our volleyball skills."
The Bison took advantage, serving 5 aces, en route to a 25-11, 25-11 victory over the Knights in the Mid-Suburban League East match.
Knights coach Mike Riedy started the charity event six years ago. Including Thursday's match, more than $40,000 has been raised.
"When she (Gronski, who is a special education teacher at Prospect) announced that, we were so surprised and we used it as motivation when we were serving," said Bison senior Alaina Murphy, who put down a match-high 10 kills with 8 digs. "It was like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to donate to the breast cancer cause, and that was an awesome feeling."
The Bison played an awesome match.
"Everyone was on," said Rivera, who had 7 kills and 9 digs. "When Alaina and I are hitting well on the same day, it's insane. The sets were perfect from Marie (Georgoulis, who had 24 assists). And the passers were all giving perfect passes."
And the aces from Murphy (2), Leah Masciopinto (2) and Katelyn Sommers (1) were giving additional money to the Northwest Community Hospital 'Gift-a-Mammogram' program.
"It's great to see everyone from both sides come together for a great cause," said Riedy, who wore pink socks along with his coaching staff. "The bottom line is you're going to save lives of people in the community and it can be mothers, sisters or daughters of someone you know."
Since Riedy stared the event in 2008, BG has played in the match three times with Hersey, Maine South and Elk Grove the other opponents.
"That donation for aces was awesome," said BG coach Matt Priban. "This is such a great cause and it's so nice to see how everyone comes together."
Bison senior Colleen Nowlan was a force at the net, with a match-high 5 blocks and 3 kills.
"She had a nice match," said Priban, whose team improved to 9-10 and 4-2 in the conference, tied for second behind Hersey (5-1).
Masciopinto was the first to serve an ace, giving BG a 9-7 lead in Game 1. Georgoulis strung together 4 straight points for a 17-8 lead with Murphy getting the kills for the 15th, 16th and 17 points.
"This was a great way to start the second half of conference," Murphy said. "It was a great night. It's a lot of work but definitely worth it."
Carly Thompson led Prospect (7-12, 1-5) with 4 kills and 1 block.
"They serve received us too well for us to score any aces," Riedy said. "And I thought their defense was fantastic. They didn't let anything drop."