By Nelson Coffin
Like many people, Bryn Mawr coach Grace Hayes’ life has been touched by breast cancer.
Two of her close friends were recently diagnosed with the disease and she helped nurture her ex-boyfriend’s mother after her diagnoses as well.
That’s part of the reason why Hayes is so eager to embrace a the Breast Cancer Awareness game fundraiser when the Mawritians, fresh off a taut 25-23, 23-25, 23-25, 25-23, 15-9 come-from-behind B Conference victory over Mercy on Thursday afternoon, will don pink uniforms when they host A Conference rival John Carroll on Friday afternoon in a non-league match.
Hayes said that she and her charges “just want to bring awareness to such an important cause.”
She acknowledged that the Bryn Mawr junior varsity should get credit for making the game happen.
“I don’t want to take anything away from them,” Hayes added. “Because they were the driving force, but we’re all in.”
Bryn Mawr outside hitter-turned-middle hitter Amelia King said that the varsity players will work concession stands during the JV game as part of a fundraising effort to donate to cancer research.
Similarly, the JV Mawrtians will also sell items during the varsity match, which will be the final athletic event of the school’s Spirit Day celebration.
King said that playing for a cause “adds motivation” for the game.
Regardless of the outcome against the Patriots, Bryn Mawr (6-2) will remain in fourth place in the 11-team B Conference while already having matched last season’s win total.
Mercy, which showed some power of its own in taking the second and third sets, fell to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in B Conference play.
The Magic were led by Destiny Edwards (9 kills) and Rhianna Betley (8) at the net.
The Mawrtians were in danger of losing three straight sets until they snapped a 23-23 deadlock on Favour Udeh’s kill in the fourth set.
Mercy then hit a ball into the net to fall in a set that was tied eight times. The Magic trailed, 21-17 before making a late charge behind a kill by Edwards and a well-placed tip by Betley and another Betley kill.
Mercy led the final set, 6-3, before the Mawrtians came back to knot the score for the final time, at 9-9, on a kill by left outside hitter Kelsey Mirro, assisted by setter Brooke Vinson, who led the winners with 44 assists.
With Mirro’s sister, junior libero Madison Mirro at the service line, the Mawrtians completed their 7-0 closing run beginning with kills by Udeh and Kelsey Mirro.
Madison Mirro added two more aces, Udeh had a back and a kill as the Mawrtians finished with a flourish.
Mercy coach Matt Marion said the teams are pretty evenly matched.
“Every set comes down to three or four plays,” he said. “And they (Bryn Mawr) made the most plays down the stretch. They have a phenomenal from row, and I think we did a pretty good job of going away from their blockers.”
Madison Mirro, who boasted a 2.63 passing rate, with seven assists, 11 aces and 21 digs, started the match with five aces to get Bryn Mawr rolling early.
“Everybody’s energy level really went up,” she said. “We were really excited. We really wanted to win.”