Tickled pink

Published 10:56 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Northside assistant coach Annie Lee (second from left) and the Panthers pose for a picture with the breast cancer ribbon trophy after beating Southside 3-2 in the Dig Pink Volleyball for the Cure game on Tuesday at Northside High School. The game raised funds and awareness for breast cancer. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

YEATESVILLE — When she concocted the idea for Northside to play a volleyball game against Southside that would help raise awareness and funds for breast cancer, Tami Wagaman wanted to be involved, but had no idea just how involved she would get.
On Tuesday, Wagaman, who hasn’t coached volleyball in two years, found herself on the sideline with first-year assistant coach Annie Lee, as both chipped in to fill the vacancy left by second-year coach Amanda McGaha, who missed her team’s regular season finale because she was on personal leave after recently getting married.
The duo did a nice job of shoe filling as they managed to keep the Panthers from blowing a two-game lead against Four Rivers Conference rival Southside as they won 29-27, 25-16, 20-25, 21-25, 15-12 on Tuesday.
Lee, who has only been on the Northside staff for six months, was ecstatic that her team was able to stave off a collapse and leg out a Senior Night victory while winning the first of what could be an annual Dig Pink Volleyball for the Cure game.
“I’m thrilled, absolutely thrilled,” Lee said. “I know the girls are proud of themselves, especially because it’s Senior Night and the last game of the regular season and of course anytime you beat Southside there is always bragging rights.”
For at least one day, both teams get to brag as the two schools’ efforts helped raise over $1,700 for breast cancer.
“I figured it would be something that both teams could get together and have a good time fundraising. There is a lot of cancer around here and it is very dear to a lot of people’s hearts,” said Wagaman, who coached volleyball at both Northside and Southside. “I think it went well, we all got together and had a good time and we saw a lot of pink everywhere. For the first year our goal was to raise $1,000 and we went way past that.”
Southside coach Elizabeth Pruden said she was happy her team could be a part of it and had a chance to contribute to a good cause.
“We like playing for a good cause, we liked raising money and had fun doing it,” said Pruden, whose team, along with Northside’s, sold pink T-shirts to help raise money. “The game got the girls pumped up on a different level … It was for a good cause and we really enjoyed playing it.”
The game had a great atmosphere as both teams were charged for the season finale and both were desperately seeking a win to boost their playoff hopes.
The first game was the most thrilling as it featured 11 ties, but in the end Northside was able to pull out a 29-27 victory.
The next game was not nearly as close as net players Jordan Woolard, Rachel Hollowell, Alex Cutler and Caroline Slade gave the Seahawks fits en route to a 25-16  Game 2 victory.
It looked like Northside was going to get a clean sweep of their rivals, but the gutsy Seahawks had other ideas. After falling behind 6-1 early, Southside was able to get itself together and take a 25-20 win. The Seahawks would go on to win a 25-22 thriller in the fourth game to force a fifth and final match. It was there that the Seahawks would run out of steam.
Southside got stellar play from Corey Watford, Sondra Sparks, Marlin Edwards and Kyajia Mourning up front, while Macy Paramore and Katie Laughinghouse played well in the back.
Northside also got exceptional play from its backrow players, led by senior Jordan Cooke along with Brittany Alligood and Danielle Oliver.
Tuesday’s game was expected to be the final one for seniors Cooke, Hollowell and Mariah Hawkins.
“They bring a lot of leadership and a lot of heart and a whole lot of skills to practice each day,” Lee said. “And they have a whole lot of love for the team.”