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Diggin’ hope: A cause for the cure

Jocelyn Valencia tips the ball in an effort to rally against the Linn-Benton Road Runners.
Hannah Hawkins / Mainstream
Jocelyn Valencia tips the ball in an effort to rally against the Linn-Benton Road Runners.

The Umpqua volleyball team had high spirits as they came into a pink gym for their game versus Linn-Benton Community College on Friday, Oct. 11.

The gym was decorated with pink balloons, streamers, posters and the players even wore pink jerseys in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. While honoring those who have suffered from breast cancer, the awareness had a financial impact as well.

“The girls went out into the community and sought out donations,” said athletic director Cheryl Yoder. “They donated money to the cancer center in town and during the game they also collected donations.” The donations totaled $57.30.

Many members of the Roseburg community showed up that night to support the cause.

“We had a great crowd that night and a lot of people wore pink,” said Yoder.

Hoping that the change in uniform color would change their record for the better, the ‘Hawks (0-3 in conference, 2-9 overall) were looking for their first league win. Unfortunately,  Umpqua was unable to conquer the Road Runners and received another strike under the loss column.

Although Linn-Benton dominated on offense with an average of 12 points per game coming from kills alone, Umpqua took the hits well receiving many defensive digs. Defensive specialist Elysha Lang had 13 of the team’s 40 digs.

“Sometimes we are left in awe at how easy she makes things look because she gives everything in her power to make sure she can be the best she can be. Some of the digs she gets are just extremely phenomenal,” said teammate Jocelyn Valencia.

During the second game, setter Kathryn Epler collided with middle blocker Kelsey Warren. Epler sustained a minor concussion.

“All I remember is going for a short ball. I don’t remember anything after that,” said Epler.

The team was in shock as Epler was slow in getting up.

“We were all like no, Kathy, get up, get up. And she was like ‘I don’t even know what I’m doing,’” said Warren.

After going to the doctor that night, Epler was forced to sit out for the next day’s game versus Chemeketa. Epler was cleared to play in the Green River Crossover Tournament on Oct. 18-19.

Warren, a Douglas High School alumni, scored only three kills against the Road Runners. However, she still enjoyed herself as she battled against former teammate Kristen Epps. Warren and Epps went to the same school and played sports together. This was the first time the two had played against each other on opposing teams.

“It was interesting, she had messaged me before the game saying good luck,” said Warren.

Because of the rotation, Warren and Epps were never on the court at the same time.

“When she was in, I was out.”

After the game the two exchanged compliments and carried on their friendship.