Windsor, Southampton high school volleyball teams Dig Pink

Published 10:18 am Friday, October 18, 2013

The girls from the Windsor and Southampton volleyball teams wish each other luck before the match. -- CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

The girls from the Windsor and Southampton volleyball teams wish each other luck before the match. — CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

WINDSOR—It wasn’t a normal October volleyball match.

With playoff implications on the line, the stands were completely filled, but walking into the Windsor High School Gym, the most noticeable thing was the color pink.

For a rivalry match that could decide who wins the Tri-Rivers division, the Windsor Dukes and Southampton Indians volleyball teams were wearing the color for Dig Pink, a cancer research and awareness foundation that has roots in volleyball.

“I think it is wonderful,” said Windsor Principal Danny Soderholm. “We are very lucky to have two coaches in the area who care so much about these young ladies to help them be involved in things beyond school.

“It teaches both teams to work together on something that, chances are, with having 50 young ladies out there, that it could affect them.”

Samantha Billups, 17, is a setter for the Southampton Indians. Before the game started, she looked around at all of parents and fans that had shown up in pink as well and was in awe.

“I am just amazed,” she said. “So many people came out and wore pink. It is also so cool how two different teams — we’re really big rivals — came together to support something amazing.

“And we’re all having a great time.”

Kellie Matthews, a 17-year-old junior middle blocker for Windsor, said that she was glad to wear pink for a worthy cause.

“I’m glad we got the jerseys for the school. It means that future generations can continue the tradition,” she said of the jerseys, which had Dukes on the back rather than last names.

The idea to have a Dig Pink game originated with Windsor coach Jeffrey Burchette, whose family has always supported cancer-related charities, including Dig Pink. He looked on the calendar and saw that in October the Southampton game was the biggest match, so he approached Coach Chad Brock at a summer volleyball camp.

“When he pitched it, I was ready,” said Brock. “It is an easy way to bring attention to a great cause. And the kids just love it. At first, some of them were just excited about wearing pink, but the closer it got, the more they realized how big of a deal it was.”

Burchette said it was good to work with Southampton toward this cause.

“We’ve always played each other, and now we are in the same district,” he said. “It’s good for friendly rivals to show support for the cancer research cause.

“Both of us, Chad and I, are religious. We both believe in doing good moral things to help others.”

Southampton ended up winning the game, coming back in the final three sets after Windsor took the first set 25-17. Southampton rallied and won the final three sets 25-20, 25-20 and 25-16.

“It was a tough match,” said Brock. “All four sets were tight and hard fought. Nobody gave up on either side, and it took a total team effort to overcome dropping the first set.”

For the Southampton side, Grayson Drake had 3 aces, 16 assists and 5 kills. Samantha Billups was 16 of 16 serving with 4 aces, 14 assists and 1 kill. Kaylee Edwards had 4 aces and 11 kills. Madeleine Kahle had 2 aces and 10 kills. Eve Robertson was 8 of 8 serving with 6 kills. Megan Duck had 3 aces and 7 kills.

Southampton improves to 15-3 overall and 11-0 in the district.

For Windsor, Allison Griggs had 1 ace, 6 kills and 10 digs. McCayla Servais had 9 digs. Kaylee Smith had 3 kills. Jessica Blythe had 22 assists. Kellie Matthews had 9 kills, 4 blocks and 4 digs.

“Southampton has a great team,” Burchette said. “They are well coached and do not make many mistakes.

“We had our chances but just could not get it done. But the girls played well tonight. I’m proud of their effort. Both teams played hard and it was a good match.”

Windsor falls to 11-3 overall and in district.

Both teams had a great time and were happy to raise more than $250 for Dig Pink, and perhaps more importantly, raise awareness.

“In one way or another, all of the girls here will be affected by breast cancer, through family, friends or themselves,” said Allison Grigg, 17, Windsor senior outside hitter. “That we have a chance to raise some money or awareness for it is just awesome.”