The Francis Marion University volleyball team defeated the Coker College Cobras in three sets (25-10, 25-19, 25-16) on Tuesday, Oct. 25, in the 4th annual Dig Pink match.
Every year during the month of October, The Side-Out Foundation, FMU volleyball and Zeta Tau Alpha sorority join forces for the Dig Pink match. The Patriots wear their pink jerseys on Dig Pink Night, a night dedicated to raising funds for and awareness of breast cancer.
Teresa Friess is the mother of Patriot senior outside hitter Ashlee Crook. Friess expressed pride when discussing the significance of the special match.
“Raising awareness of breast cancer is not just to be done by families already affected by the disease,” Friess said. “The reality is any one of the girls on our team could be affected. This event is a concentrated effort by everyone to do what we can now and just make more people aware.”
Friess also said that by having the annual Dig Pink match, Francis Marion is showing concern for the welfare of the students.
“We want all our kids to contribute to the good of society,” Friess said.
FMU scored the opening four points in the first set and never trailed. Coker jumped out to a 14-9 advantage in set two, but the Patriots rallied to tie the score at 17-17 and eventually scored seven of the set’s final eight points to win 25-19. Coker held a slight lead in set three until FMU went ahead 13-9 following a 5-0 run. Leading 15-13, the Patriots finished the match with a 10-3 spurt.
Ashlee Crook helped lead the way for FMU, recording her seventh double-double of the season with 13 kills and 12 digs. Crook also registered three blocks, while success-fully handing 12 serve receptions.
Junior Liz Drewry had eight kills. Sophomore setter Nicole Bennett handed out 30 assists while senior libero Hallie Legg tallied a team-high 21 digs, her 10th match with at least 20 digs this season.
Senior middle blocker Danielle Parker, who had six kills of her own, said that her team played solid volleyball against Coker.
“Our whole team was playing well,” Parker said. “Our ball control was really on tonight, and our setter was making good decisions.”
Parker said that the Patriots played Coker tough by keeping the Cobras from effectively setting up their offense.
For the Cobras, sophomore Taylor Willis amassed seven kills, while setter Samantha Celek handed out 24 assists. Libero Brittany Bass matched Legg’s total with 21 digs.
As a team, FMU had more kills (42-26), aces (5-4) and blocks (5-4) than Coker.
The win gave the Patriots their third straight victory. FMU improved its record to 10-14 and dropped Coker’s record to 8-15. The Patriots are preparing for the Peach Belt Conference Tournament in Augusta, Ga., on Nov. 12 and 13.
Donations to the Dig Pink campaign can be made online at www.side-out.org. Proceeds from all donations will benefit the Side-Out Foundation, a national 501(c)(3) located in Washington, D.C.