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St. Sylvester teams dig for a cause

By Laura Van Wert
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:30 p.m.

Family members, friends and neighbors — everyone knows someone who is dealing with or has battled cancer.

That's why members of the St. Sylvester School girls' volleyball teams helped plan the third annual “Digging for a Cause,” which helps raise money for women with breast cancer.

“I step on the court and I think of my grandma (a breast cancer survivor,)” said Emma Betz, an eighth-grader on the volleyball team. “I just think of the struggle that she went through.”

“Digging for a Cause” is Monday in the school gymnasium. The junior varsity and varsity girls' teams will challenge St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin School. Doors open at 5:45 p.m.

In addition to the junior varsity and varsity volleyball games, the event will include a serve competition, raffles, a 50/50, concessions and an appearance by Pittsburgh Passion Women's Football players. All proceeds benefit the Pink Tie Affair Pittsburgh, a nonprofit organization that provides aid to women battling breast cancer.

“I think that it's great to raise money,” Betz said. “It's a fun experience for everyone.”

Last year's “Digging for a Cause” raised almost $1,000 for Susan Bodell, a St. Sylvester parishioner. Bodell's daughter, Lauren, started the Pink Tie Affair Pittsburgh in memory of her mother, who passed away shortly after last year's event, said Michaela Reinhart, an eighth-grade volleyball player.

Betz, Reinhart, Maria Cerro, Jess Schneider and Amber Jones — all members of the volleyball teams — said planning the event year after year is a great experience because it helps a great cause and they become closer. The girls will decorate the gymnasium with encouraging pink signs, volleyballs and other inspirational messages.

“Everything is pink,” Betz said.

Likewise, Schneider said she makes bows out of duct tape and plans to sell pink ones at the event.

Raising money for a cause is important, but these girls are athletes, too. They also are focused on strategy to win each match.

“Hit it hard, serve it hard and play to the best of our abilities,” Betz said.

Reinhart said she agrees.

“It's cool just being there in the gym,” she said. Of course, we want to win, too.”

Laura Van Wert is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5814 or at



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