BY TONY MORRIS
An ace or block has never meant so much to the University of Mary Washington volleyball team.
The Eagles are raising money for breast cancer research through a season long ‘Ace for a Cure’ program, with donations from sponsors for every ace or block the team records until their last home game on Oct. 10.
The team has undertaken this effort on behalf of junior Sarah Tighe. This April her mother, Nancy, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Tighe had been looking for a way to contribute to the cause, and used volleyball as an outlet to help both her mother and local and national cancer research all at once.
“The idea sort of came from me,” Tighe said. “I had wanted to do something. I took this to the team, they liked it and we all took it to coach.”
Nancy Tighe had surgery this summer, and is currently undergoing her second round of chemotherapy. Tighe does her best to focus on the moment, but her mother’s battle is never far from thought.
“It’s never my main focus, but it’s always in the back of your mind,” Tighe said.
In addition to the ‘Ace for a Cure’ program, the team is also looking to build on its 2006 season, where the team advanced to the Capital Athletic Conference quarterfinals. The Eagles finished 7th in CAC regular season standings with a final record of 12-10.
The Eagles have a very young team this year, with over half of the roster comprised of freshman and sophomores, and no seniors.
However, head coach Dee Conway is confident that her team is up for the challenge.
“It’s still early, but I feel like the team is further along then we were at the same time last season,” Conway said.
The team opened its season with two tournaments at Averett University on Sept. 1 and 2. UMW spilt two matches in the Invitational on Saturday, falling to Averett in three games before beating Roanoke College in four tight games.
The Eagles were not as fortunate on Sunday, losing to 14th ranked Austin College in three games before falling to Greensboro College in five games.
However, UMW got back on track yesterday, defeating Randolph-Macon, 3-1.