Bears take the court for a cause

Bears take the court for a cause

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Bears take the court for a cause

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Sometimes a game has hundreds of winners.

East Brunswick High School girls varsity volleyball team will play West Windsor-Plainsboro North on Friday at a “Live Pink” fundraiser to raise breast cancer awareness.

Hosted by the Bears for the third straight year, the main event starts at 7 p.m., with all proceeds going to the Cure Breast Cancer Foundation. The junior varsity teams of both schools face off at 5:30 p.m.

There will be raffles, bake sales, T-shirts and marketing products on sale, and “tricky trays” sponsored by local businesses. Last year’s event raised $3,400.

“It’s a very exciting event, where we’re out there for a good cause,” said coach Melissa Strauss. “The donations are just a bonus for us — we as a group want to do our part to help out.”

Strauss credits her entire team for its 11-2 record so far this season, saying her core six — half a dozen seniors — all deserve the title of co-captain.

Though she graduated four seniors, Strauss described the transition to the new season as seamless.

“All my seniors are the heart and soul of my team,” Strauss added. “They’ve all played in the off-season. All my leaders play for club teams. They all have the characteristics to be leaders and they’re best friends on and off the court. I couldn’t pick two or three; they all deserve to be captains, every single one of them.”

Last year the team fell to Mother Seton in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament semifinals, and reached the second round of the state tournament.

“(This season) we definitely want to find ourselves in the GMC final and we definitely want to win,” she said. “We want to be as competitive as we can be with the big teams in Group IV, but it’s going to be tougher because we could be playing any Group IV school now, not just Central.”

The six standout seniors who spark the team are outside hitter Sara D’Antuono, middle blocker Gabrielle “GB” Galluzzo, outside hitter Ema Hanzes, middle blocker Rachael Phillips, setter opposite Nicole Tagerty and libero Pam Wong.

Four juniors, outside hitter Caroline Caruso, opposites Sabrina Chang and Lena Husslein, and middle Jennifer Murphy make great contributions in support of team leaders, Strauss explained. Rounding out the lineup of 12 are sophomore outside hitter Jessica Moy and freshman libero Kelly Winch.

“What I bring to the table is charisma,” said co-captain Galluzzo. “I kinda think that I’m the psychiatrist of the team – if I see someone down about a point, I pick them up. It’s very important to be ready for the next point.

“My goal this season is to play hard and go as far as possible,” Galluzzo added.

Co-captain Tagerty also cited her role in promoting team chemistry.

“During the games, I make sure everybody is together and no one is upset with themselves,” she said. “I make sure we all have energy.”

The game that stood out for Tagerty last year was a brave comeback against Mother Seton, though the Bears lost the final set by two points.

“For this season, I want to have fun and see how far we could go. We’re having a good season, I hope it continues,” said Tagerty, adding that she’s looking forward to the “Live Pink” game.

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