The 49ers celebrate after a point on Dig Pink night. Photo by Pooja Pasapula

The Charlotte 49ers hosted their 16th annual “Dig Pink” night, this past Friday Oct. 27 in Halton Arena. The aim of Charlotte’s Dig pink campaign is to raise awareness and activism within the local community in an effort to combat the breast cancer. The match itself was a loss in a very tight battle with the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. The Charlotte 49ers falling in three sets.

“I just think for the first time all season, we didn’t come out with the same level of preparation, both teams,” said head coach Karen Weatherington.

Halton arena itself appeared to be an ocean of complete pink, with the match itself drawing out a little over 1,200 spectators, putting it number 11 on the list for Charlotte volleyball’s most attended games. Senior outside hitter Janell Sparks finished the game with 11 kills and one block. Her teammate, freshman outside hitter Sydney Rowan, finished the game with 15 kills, two blocks and one ace.

The annual Dig Pink events focus on raising both money and awareness for breast cancer research, specifically for the Levine Cancer Center and the Carolina Health Center.

“We do this event every year. This year, we were definitely directing our efforts to be more local.” said Weatherington this past week at a local Dig Pink fundraiser.

With cancer having such a far reach, and playing a part in the lives of so many individuals, Charlotte’s Dig Pink has always been an event that brings out a certain drive, dedication, and support for the cause regardless of background.

“Years past I’ve been able to keep up with what they had been doing here, and it just looks like so much fun, and it’s such a cause that hits home for so many different people, and for me especially,” said freshman Alex Boone.

With a host of events and fundraisers such as Chick-Fil-A day, where the 49ers partnered with the University Place Chick-Fil-A, where they allowed customers to donate some of their proceeds to the cause for cancer research. Donning their pink t-shirts, the ladies made sure to make it known exactly what they stood for.

“It means everything to me. I talk about it every year, my mom is a cancer survivor and we’ve been touched by cancer in our family and in our team in so many different ways. In our department, we have so many different survivors across campus who reach out and come to support us in this event,” said Weatherington. “It touches me a lot, having football, and having many students come out, our team leadership, other athletes. It’s very personal when I get the chance to stop one of them and talk about their expectations and what we do to serve. Community service is the corner stone of Charlotte athletics. Every body dumped their effort into Dig Pink.”

The huge efforts and devotion of each member of the charlotte 49ers volleyball team and coaching staff, on top of the constant waves of support from fans make the annual Dig Pink campaign possible. With a record turnout for the game itself, the Charlotte 49ers have added another year to the books when it comes to upholding this outstanding tradition and legacy.

“I did tear up, I’m not even going to lie,” said Weatherington. “Looking around right between the first sets, and everybody is there wearing pink and pink ribbons. I teared up and just wanted to keep thanking everybody for doing it, but it is a personal grind. We have friends right now in the volleyball world living with cancer, so it means a lot to see everybody step up and help us out.”