The University of Utah Volleyball team cheers after their loss to the Oregon Ducks in a set of matches at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, UT on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

A sea of pink will flood the Huntsman Center on Friday, Oct. 20 for the annual University of Utah volleyball Power of Pink match that will take place against UCLA this season. The Utes will wear pink uniforms in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Junior middle blocker Tawnee Luafalemana is looking forward to the upcoming match and the opportunity her team will have to play for an important campaign. During the match where they recognized breast cancer this past season, she said her favorite part about competing that day was being able to represent the people who are going through this struggle.

“It’s really a privilege for us to play for them,” Luafalemana said.

According to BreastCancer.Org, statistics show that roughly one in eight women living in the United States, will develop breast cancer at some point in their life.

The tradition of wearing pink originates from the late ‘80s when the need for awareness began to be made known. Shortly after, October became the dedicated month for this devestating disease. Sports teams started changing the colors of their uniforms and wearing pink gear, such as cleats, patches, socks, ribbons and wristbands to raise money and moral support for breast cancer organizations. Utah Athletics participates in raising awareness through such events like the Power of Pink match.

In addition to the uniforms, the volleyball team is giving away matching pink headbands to recognize families and friends who are fighting their own battle with cancer. For some of the players, this subject hits close to home. Before the game, the Utes open up about their personal experiences and discuss the loved ones that they may be playing for that night. In the past, this has been a powerful moment that seems to motivate the team to come out and compete with passion for those affected by breast cancer.

Although Luafalemana will not be playing for someone in particular, she is grateful that she gets to take part in the event with her teammates.

The team’s sophomore libero, Brianna Doehrmann, remembers the energy from both her teammates and the fans at last year’s match. Doehrmann is ready to be surrounded by the attendees and feel that same intensity Friday night in front of what she described as a passionate environment to play in.

“It’s cool seeing all the pink in the crowd and how everyone is supporting breast cancer,” Doehrmann said.

Fans are encouraged to exchange their usual crimson red attire for pink on game night to observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink flags and “Fridays Are For The Girls” tank tops will also be passed out to those who attend the match. Free admission will be granted to fans who come wearing pink, and all Girl Scouts are invited to attend Girl Scout Night and take part as the Utes join in on the fight against breast cancer.

The action gets underway at 6 p.m.

d.grossman@dailyutahchronicle.com

@dg_maui

Dakota Grossman
Dakota Grossman is the assistant sports editor for The Daily Utah Chronicle. She is currently pursuing her career in strategic communications while also competing for the university's cross country and track team.

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