Baldwin volleyball looking forward to Dig Pink fundraiser, postseason run

Friday, October 11, 2019 | 5:28 PM

It has become an annual event on high school girls volleyball schedules, and it’s one of the highlights of the school year at Baldwin.

The Highlanders’ annual Dig Pink fundraiser, set for Thursday, Oct. 17, will benefit breast cancer awareness and research.

Baldwin hosts Bethel Park at 7:30 p.m. in a Section 2-AAAA showdown.

“This is a part of our seniors’ school project for the 2019-20 school year,” said Kevin Meis, president of the Baldwin women’s volleyball boosters. “All profits will be donated to a cancer foundation of the senior girls’ choice as part of their October Dig Pink fund-raising efforts.

“The girls ask businesses in our community for donations or items to be raffled off in our Chinese auctions. We are also selling Dig Pink T-shirts to help with our donation. Last year, $1,500 was raised and donated, and we are hoping to donate even more this year.”

Senior athletes at Baldwin are outside hitters Anna Baloh and Allison Murray, defensive specialists Maddie DeLuca and Maggie Zandier, libero Mia Hampsay, right side hitter Riley Lenard Haley and middle hitter Ally Schenk. Most in the group are third-year starters.

“It will also be our youth night,” Schenk said, “so we are looking forward to having the younger girls from Harrison Middle School, St. Gabriel’s and St. Elizabeth’s involved.”

The Baldwin netters will pose for a group photo with the younger girls prior to the varsity match, and a serving competition will take place at the event.

“We extend an invitation to girls from the local elementary schools to attend the junior varsity and varsity games,” Meis said. “We are trying to give the (younger) girls a glimpse of our successful volleyball program and, at the same time, show how we can serve the community.”

For Murray, a St. Francis (Pa.) recruit, Dig Pink provides many pleasant memories from her grade school days.

“I will always remember how much fun the Dig Pink games were for me being in middle school and being allowed down onto the court with the players,” Murray said. “The Side-Out Foundation raises money for stage IV breast cancer research and allows volleyball teams to show encouragement to others. We encourage everyone to come to the game, show your support to the Side-Out Foundation and wear pink.”

The Side-Out Foundation is a national organization that oversees the Dig Pink program.

It will be Highlanders’ final match of the regular season, and a section championship may be at stake.

“We’re all improving and working on putting everything together to finish the season strong and continue through the WPIAL playoffs,” said Schenk, who plans to continue her career at Fairmont State. “I think there is a very obvious difference in the team from the beginning of the season until now. We are all putting a lot of effort into practice and carrying it into games in order to win.”

Baldwin was 9-1 through 10 section matches and ranked No. 3 in Class AAAA by the Western Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association.

“We definitely have been stepping up our game,” Murray said. “Ally is outstanding in the middle. Also, Mia moves the ball around a lot, allowing us hitters to mix up our shots.

“Riley, Anna and (sophomore middle hitter) Heidi Johnston also contribute with blocks and kills. From the back row, Maggie, (sophomore libero) Alexa Chapla and (junior defensive specialist) Lyssa Linden have had fantastic games passing and serving-wise.

“We have very high expectations, and we’ve had them since the end of last season. After last year, being upset by North Allegheny in the WPIAL championship, then State College in the quarterfinal of the state playoffs, we worked really hard in the offseason. We are still pushing to go even further and be more successful this year.”

The Highlanders kicked off last week by defeating South Hills rival and previously undefeated Thomas Jefferson, 3-0, in a nonsection match at Baldwin. Murray was credited with 26 kills. Baldwin also defeated Canon-McMillan, 3-1, in a key section match before losing to Moon by the same score in another section match.


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