By Brittany Llorente
VERO BEACH - The John B. Witt gym at Vero Beach High School was especially pink for a Pink Tie Friends volleyball match Thursday, Oct. 4, when the varsity girls took down the St. Lucie West Centennial High School Eagles 3-0.
Each of the players wore pink, along with other accessories and each of the 175 balloons in the gym represented a person who died from breast cancer from 2000 to 2005 in Indian River County.
The special event, hosted by Vero Beach High School, raised money for Pink Tie Friends, a nonprofit charity focused on breast cancer awareness on the Treasure Coast.
"Every single person has been affected in some way by breast cancer," Indians Coach Sarah Eckert said.
But even though they were adorned in pink, the Indians made their presence known on the board.
Alexandra Lilliquist, a junior, had a 16-serve rally and three aces in the first set. Molly Higgins had a 7-serve rally that helped them finish the match 25 to 3.
"My arm is pretty warmed as I served almost the whole first match," said Lilliquist. "I am comfortable doing pretty much everything on the court and any zone."
The Indian players were able to "have fun" Coach Eckert said. She was confronted during the match by the Eagles Coach Marianna Lewis, during the break, saying that laughter on the court was directed at her players. Eckert replied the Indian players were just enjoying themselves and the laughter on the court was not directed at the Eagles players.
The second match was similar to the first, though some points from the Eagles players and net-balls from the Indians broke up the long rallys seen in the first match.
Higgins closed out the second set with the Indians up 25 to 5.
Indian Brittany Wonka had the long rally in the third set that sealed the sweep over the Eagles, 25 to 7.
"The girls played strong," Coach Eckert said. "We were able to try some new plays tonight and I'm excited for the new options and having a new arsenal to play at districts."
Coach Lewis said she was proud of her players, despite the tough loss.
"They really stood up against adversity and kept their heads high when others aren't being as respectable," she said.
The Eagles will attend the "Dig Pink" breast cancer fundraising event, at 8 a.m. Oct. 13 hosted by Fort Pierce Central.
"We go home and yes, we lost and everything, but we're a team and we support each other," said the Eagles Rosanna Franco. "We need to put in a lot of hard work for our next game."
The Indians will head for their last district game at 6 p.m. Oct. 15 at home against Sebastian River.