By John Rothwell – Photo Editor
The Grand Rapids Community College women’s volleyball team won their 10th straight match by sweeping Lake Michigan Community College 3-0 (25-18, 25-8, 25-23) on Oct. 15.
It was a night filled with emotion as the Raiders played the annual cancer awareness match, which has been part of the GRCC volleyball tradition since Chip Will took over the coaching position nine years ago.
This year’s Pink Out match, intended to raise awareness about breast cancer, also stirred emotions among team members and one player in particular.
Freshman outside hitter Lauren Wieber‘s mother died March 7 from breast cancer.
“The day was overall an emotional day and it meant a lot to me that this community and this team had my back,” Lauren Wieber said. “Every time I see pink that deals with breast cancer awareness I get all choked up.”
With both mother and daughter sharing a passion for volleyball, Shanon Wieber was able to see her daughter sign a letter of intent to play college volleyball last spring.
The match started off slow with the extra emotion built into the game because of the event. Shanon Wieber’s initials were sewn on the back of this year’s warm up jerseys.
“I was trying not to burst out in tears during the game,” Wieber said. “Realizing the importance of awareness is what got me through the game.”
With Wieber’s teammates rallying around her, this year’s team and coaching staff ran the Susan G. Komen 5K Race for the Cure earlier in the month. Several teammates also showed up wearing pink wigs at this year’s Wine and Wigs fundraiser event to support her efforts to retell her mother’s story as well as her own.
“I believe it meant a lot coming from an 18-year-old telling people to get checked,” Wieber said. “At the awareness game I spoke to a mother that has never had a mammogram and I was like, ‘I am going to drag you to get one if you don’t go get one soon.’”
The added emotion did not hurt Wieber’s play on the court as she led the raiders with 10 kills for the night.