MYERSTOWN - In the summer, the members of the Lebanon and Elco girls volleyball teams got together at South Hills Park for a picnic. That closeness and camaraderie came together for a bigger cause Tuesday night at Elco High School as the two teams met for the first time this year in a Lancaster-Lebanon Section 3 game.
The game had been circled on the calendar for months, but maybe not for the reason many would think - it was the teams’ Pink Game to raise awareness of Breast Cancer.
“It was a fun event to work with and we’re just really happy to bring up the subject and focus on it. It’s a good cause,” said Elco senior Peyton Kline.
After joining together to sing the National Anthem, the two teams put the cause behind them for a five-set contest that Elco won 3-2 (19-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-8, 15-3).
In the first set, Lebanon (6-9, 1-3) jumped out to an early lead, but Elco (3-7, 2-3) battled back to tie the set at 17-17. Then Sharlyn Yambo-Gonzalez and Vanessa Rivera combined for four service aces to help the Cedars win the first set 25-19.
The Raiders battled back to take the second set 25-20 behind the blocking of Maddie Sweatlock.
“I think she made the difference," Elco coach Paul Dissinger said. "Once she and Devon Rosengrant shut the middle down, and I think a lot of it was not just putting the ball back on Lebanon’s side it was also the psychological impact that anything at the net is getting blocked back down on you again.”
In the third set, the Cedars dominated the service game and won the set 25-20. But Elco returned the favor in the fourth set, behind the serving of Carli Sholl, Amanda Krall and Jade Mattocks, who combined for 29 service points over the final two sets.
“I think what you run into is that it’s such a young team out there, and any time you have a young team like that, it’s very unpredictable. I was just glad they got the serves in,” Dissinger said.
But the real winner of the evening was the Breast Cancer Research Coalition. The two teams raised over $800.
“We all thought it was for a really good cause," Kline said.
According to Kline, the T-shirts each team sold were designed by Deb Petty, one of Elco’s assistant coaches. “Supporting the fighters, admiring the survivors, honoring the taken, and never, ever giving up hope,” was printed on the back.
Lebanon hosts New Covenant Christian on Thursday; Elco travels to Lancaster Catholic on Monday.