Before the Stoughton High volleyball team even stepped on to the court Friday night the Black Knights were already winners, having secured more than $4,000 in donations for the American Cancer Society through fundraising efforts.
But, on the court, the Black Knights were winners too, sweeping Sharon 25-16, 25-19, 25-17, picking up their ninth win of the season, and with it clinching a berth in the postseason state tournament for the second consecutive season and for just the second time in the program's five year history.
Stoughton is now 9-4 on the season. In the win over Sharon, Emma Zuk had 19 assists, 8 digs, and 11 service points; Jalen Joseph had 19 service points and 5 aces; Kayla Motley had 9 kills and 6 blocks; and Nicole Daniels had 13 kills, 5 blocks, and 11 service points.
"This year's squad set [reaching the postseason] as a goal from the start of our season and anything else would have been a disappointment," Stoughton coach Ken Gay wrote in an email. "They have worked extremely hard to achieve this goal and with five matches left to play we have set our sights on finishing at least 12-6, hoping that will ensure a home match at SHS for the first time ever in volleyball and the first in a long time for a fall sport."
For the third straight season, the Stoughton High volleyball team and the Sharon High volleyball team met in a "Dig for the Cure" match, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Sharon hosted last season's, with Stoughton hosting this year's on Friday night.
The black and orange Stoughton High gym was accented with pink on Friday, with multiple pink ribbons and streamers all over the gym. Players from both Stoughton and Sharon wore all sorts of pink gear, as did the coaches and many of the spectators. October, of course, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Members of both Stoughton and Sharon's freshmen, junior varsity and varsity teams also played in memory of someone who died of cancer, or in honor of a cancer survivor.
At the end of the match, Stoughton presented a donation of $4,216 to Caroline McDonough of the American Cancer Society of New England, the result of the "Dig for the Cure" match and funds raised from a "5 for the Cure" 5K walk organized by the team on Sept. 29.
"Our fundraising efforts reflect a pay it forward mentality," Gay wrote in an email. "Volleyball was the one sport at Stoughton High School that had to raise money before it even existed and then again a second year to stay a sport that SHS. $20,000 was the result of much hard work and the generosity of parents, businesses, and friends. It was only because of other people's generosity that we even exist at SHS, so the fundraiser is our way of paying back to the general good of the community."
Coincidentally, Stoughton clinched its first-ever postseason state tournament berth at last year's "Dig for the Cure" match vs. Sharon. In fact, Stoughton has made a habit of clinching postseason berths against Sharon with the volleyball team having done so the last two seasons and with the girls' basketball team doing so last winter and with the softball team doing so last spring.
Stoughton's next match is at home Wednesday against Foxborough.