Barb Grady has been back on the Dover girls' volleyball bench with Bobbi Strausbaugh for three seasons. In each of those seasons, one match serves as a small reminder of why Grady left.

Cancer.

Grady took a year off coaching because of ovarian cancer, something she's beat since, and the reason Dover wore pink Tuesday night against Dallastown, which wore black with pink numbers.

Tuesday night marked the third "Clash for the Cure" between the schools, a matchup Dover swept, 25-9, 25-10, 25-14.

The annual benefit matchup had been played between Dallastown and Red Lion, until Wildcats coach Shannon Werner called Strausbaugh about turning their meeting into a benefit match when Grady returned.

"We agreed to it, and we just tried to keep the tradition," said Strausbaugh, who pointed out extracurriculars such as Dover's drumline that played before the match. "Our buildings alone raised about $1,600 with T-shirts and casual days."

Strausbaugh and Grady estimated Tuesday's match raised about $2,500. The proceeds go to the York Chapter of the American Cancer Society.

Tuesday's match also was about an inexperienced Dover team striving to come of age. The Eagles entered the night trailing Spring Grove and Central York by a loss in the YAIAA Division I standings. What they hope will be an upward swing toward the end of the season began Thursday with a come-from-behind win at Spring Grove.

"Anything can happen. We knew going into this we lacked experience and it would take us probably till the second time through to get our footing," said Strausbaugh, whose team plays Central next week. "We had a lot of new people step on the court, and they're just starting to get their footing."

Grady called Dover's win last week at Spring Grove one in which "we started to believe in ourselves." After dropping the first two games, 26-24 each, they swept the Rockets and continued that momentum Tuesday against Dallastown.

Dover scored the first five points and opened Game 1 with a 17-3 run.

"After the first game I told them there wasn't really anything that was going on the other side. It was all on our side," Werner said.

Her Wildcats relaxed and began Game 2 by scoring the first three points, but not much else changed. The jitters left her players but the efficiency remained with Dover. Even in Game 3, when Dallastown pulled within 16-11, Sammie Strausbaugh delivered one of her match-high five aces.

"We definitely have to work more because past teams played a lot more together," Sammie said.

Before the Wildcats could regroup, Strausbaugh was at the front of the net slamming the ball their way for the final point, one last touch to a night of raising cancer awareness.

"It's definitely something to see everyone out and supporting us in pink -- because it's my favorite color," Sammie Strausbaugh said. "This isn't football, it's not the most popular sport in America, and to see everyone come together for volleyball, it kind of is special."
mgoul@ydr.com; 771-2076
  

at Dover
DOVER 3, DALLASTOWN 0
(25-9, 25-10, 25-14)
   Dallastown stats -- Ellen Jones (10 assists, 1 ace), Brinn McAuliffe (3 kills, 1 block), Ally Seitz (3 digs, 2 kills, 1 block), Katie Pennewill (3 kills, 1 block, 1 dig), McKenzie Peters (2 kills, 2 digs), Emma Legere (4 digs).
   Dover stats -- Sammie Strausbaugh (15 kills, 8 assists, 5 digs, 5 aces, 4 blocks), Bayleigh Hoffman (14 assists, 6 digs, 4 kills, 3 aces), Sarah Musser (7 digs, 5 kills), Erin Wetzel (10 digs), Katie Diehl (6 digs), Lauryn Messner (5 digs, 4 assists), Hannah Breneman (3 kills, 1 block, 1 dig, 1 ace).
   JV Score -- Dover won, 22-25, 25-18, 15-9