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Hornets Raise Breast Cancer Awareness During October

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Derek Pezo '19 & Zachary Cronin '19
29 October 2018

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Several sports teams acknowledged the suffering of those dear to players and coaches. These special games and events show the character of Passaic Valley’s student athletes and their dedication to find a cure. Some sports that hosted events for raising awareness include Soccer, Cross Country, Girls' Volleyball, and Field Hockey. 
Girls Soccer team celebrating a victory after the breast cancer awareness game photo credit: Kathleen Berthold

Girls Soccer

Girls' Soccer started the month off strong with their 4th annual Breast Cancer Awareness Game against the Cedar Grove Panthers. “Together we support the fighters, honor the survivors, and remember the taken,” said Kathleen Berthold. Timmothy Donnelly served as announcer for the entire event. The match began by releasing pink balloons, the color of breast cancer awareness. 

Both teams played to honor those in the community affected by breast cancer. Gabriella Volonnino ‘19 opened the event with a performance of the National Anthem, followed by a performance from the Passaic Valley Freshman Cheerleaders. Passaic Valley took home the win with a close final score of 3-2, making their overall record 7-5. Breast Cancer Awareness Game Lineup Photo Credit Kathleen Berthold

The game was able to bring many people together as they all showed their support for the players, family, and friends. 

Madison Chiavola '22 and Ariana Flores-Ortiz '22 both remember loved ones and Olivia Altonjy '21, Taylor Hill '21, Melissa Villegas '22, and Madison Leech '21 all honor family members living with cancer. 

Brittany Bove '19 honored her mother, Wendy Bove, who has been battling brain cancer for 16 years.

Alumni Kayla Campbell, along with her father Ron, honored her mother Vicki Campbel,l who is celebrating 4 years cancer free.

The coaches and players on both sides worked hard to make this Breast Cancer Awareness game the very best it could be. 

Cross Country

The Cross Country team raced for a cure by wearing pink socks at their county and sectional meets. Coach Bleuler, Coach Getz, and Coach Ottino were pleased with the enthusiasm from their runners. “This was actually our first time where we raced for a cure,” said Coach Getz. “We had our athletes go out and buy pink socks to support the cause.”

Boys Cross Country Team anticipates their race; photo credit Erik Getz Girls Cross Country team anticipate their race; photo credit Erik Getz The comradery of the Cross Country Team is nothing but positive energy, and the runners were eager to be a part of this cause. While they race to constantly improve their times, supporting Breast Cancer Awareness makes them even more motivated to push themselves.

“One of our senior captains, RJ Campbell, his mother is a survivor of breast cancer," stated Getz. "Having to go through this process of surviving is no easy task, which is why the team was so enthusiastic with wearing pink socks at our meets.”

Even while competing against other schools during these races, Getz explained how most of the teams do something to participate in spreading awareness. “It's really nice to see everyone running for the same cause!”

In the future, the team hopes to be able to continue wearing pink apparel during October, and even possibly discover other ways to show their support.  

Field Hockey

The field hockey team hosted a home "Pink" Game against River Dell, where they secured a victory with a final score of 2-1. Head Coach Lori Demsey couldn’t be more satisfied with her players’ performance. But she is also ecstatic with the her players' enthusiasm.

“We’ve been doing these games on and off for about 5 years now,” explains Demsey. “It’s great to see the girls take pride in this and working towards a great cause.”

In preparation for the game, the girls on the team thought of a design for custom shirts and sold them prior to the game. This made everyone that much more excited to not only play, but to show that the "Pink” Game is about everyone coming together for the cause. The Field Hockey Captains Alyssa Minnella ‘19 and Emily Hyde ‘19 were also overjoyed with the success of their efforts.Emily Hyde '19 and Cammy Hyde '21; Property of Ms. Lori Demsey Field Hockey team posing for their pink; Property of Ms. Lori Demsey

“Along with making shirts, we also sold baked goods made by our PVFH families to sell,” explained Minnella. “All of the proceeds went to the American Cancer Society.”

The main goal of everyone on the team was to win, but not just for their record. “We wanted to win for our friends and family members who are fighting their battle against cancer," stated Minnella. "Especially since we are an all-girls sport. It is a disease that could affect us personally one day, so awareness is important.” 

Minnella and her team are hopeful that a cure can be found in the not so distant future.

“It’s a great idea, not only for us, but for all sports hosting a cancer game to bring the community together," commented Demsey. "It shows that we can achieve so much more together by putting others before the sport.”

The field hockey team is excited for the future to continue this special tradition of theirs.

VolleyballGirls Volleyball team representing breast cancer awareness photo credit: Passaic Valley Athletics Twitter

Volleyball showed their support with a memorable match against West Milford. Named "Volley for the Cure", the match was promoted on the morning announcements in the weeks prior, with players and coaches announcing the names of those they were playing for.

“The event was a major success. I feel like PVTV did an amazing job promoting the event and emphasizing the importance of the cause,” said Coach William Robertazzi. “It was the first time we hosted a Volley for the Cure match and I'm excited to see how we can grow the fundraiser in the future.”

The team wore special pink uniforms and the match was ceremonially started and ended with powerful performances from the Passaic Valley band. “Mr. DeLuccia and our band participating in the event also made it feel really special and our community responded by attending the match and helping us raise money for the cause,” said Coach Robertazzi. .

Both teams showed honor and respect as they played for not only their schools but for those affected by breast cancer. The match itself was close but Passaic Valley won in all three sets, the final scores were 26-24, 24-26, 27-25. Captains Katarina Lockwood ‘19, Trinity Toerock ‘19, and Nicole Mokray ‘19 were able to guide their team to victory with hard work, determination, and the passion to see everyone succeed. “Our girls did an outstanding job and we raised about $600,” Coach Robertazzi added.