Shana­han to host out­side can­cer ben­e­fit

Will face Rustin Satur­day in first game of its kind in Pa.

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Bryan Davis bdavis@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @bt­davis25 on Twit­ter

“A few years ago, I was look­ing for some­thing else, and stum­bled upon a school out in the Mid­west play­ing out­doors. The at­mos­phere looked elec­tric. I thought that was a great idea and wanted to do it here at Shana­han.” – Bishop Shana­han coach Greg Ash­man

Plenty of lo­cal teams have used their games for char­ity pur­poses. But Bishop Shana­han has come up with, per­haps, the most unique idea.

The Ea­gles, and vol­ley­ball coach Greg Ash­man, will take their game out­side on Satur­day, and there won’t be a beach in sight.

In a first in the state of Penn­syl­va­nia, Shana­han will host West Ch­ester Rustin on a makeshift court at Jack Mancini Sta­dium. First serve is set for 7 p.m..

The event, coined “Spikes at Night Un­der the Lights” will ben­e­fit Unite for Her in their con­tin­ual bat­tle with breast can­cer.

Much like how a scout comes to an event to look at one per­son, and some­one else stands out, Ash­man stum­bled upon the in­spi­ra­tion for his idea.

“A few years ago, I was look­ing for some­thing else, and stum­bled upon a school out in the Mid­west play­ing out­doors,” said Ash­man. “The at­mos­phere looked elec­tric.

I thought that was a great idea and wanted to do it here at Shana­han.”

Ash­man said the ath­letic depart­ment, es­pe­cially AD Ron Rei­dinger, was en­thu­si­as­tic about the idea. The school ad­min­is­tra­tion was a lit­tle more cau­tious.

“They were con­cerened about player safety and

what it will do to the turf. I un­der­stand that, since they just put it in,” said Ash­man. “But, now, they’re all be­hind it.”

Ash­man said he wanted to do it last year, but couldn’t find an op­po­nent avail­able. The fact that it is a Ches-Mont game may be a lit­tle un­usual, but Rustin, coached by former Shana­han as­sis­tant Harry Bitzberger, stepped in and helped out.

“We were cast­ing about

for a game and Greg and I talked about play­ing,” said Bitzberger. “I talked to the team, and they were fine with it. We then had to go to the ath­letic direc­tor and get per­mis­sion.”

Satur­day will be a long day for ev­ery­one con­nected to the Shana­han vol­ley­ball pro­gram.

The court, which will be built by par­ents with con­struc­tion ex­pe­ri­ence, and other vol­un­teers, will be­gin tak­ing shape early Satur­day morn­ing.

The one ma­jor con­cern is, of course, the weather. Rain is ex­pected to hang around un­til Satur­day, but may va­cate in time for the game.

“Oh, yeah,” said Ash­man when asked if he would be watch­ing the Weather Chan­nel con­stantly. “We’re keep­ing our fingers crossed.”

The team had a run­through Sun­day to get a feel for the con­di­tions. For Rustin, Bitzberger in­di­cated a lit­tle looser ap­proach.

“We’re go­ing to wing it,” he said. “We’ll do the best we’ll can.”

With events like the NHL’s Win­ter Clas­sic and the NCAA play­ing a game on an air­craft car­rier, tak­ing a tra­di­tion­ally in­door game out­doors has taken on a cer­tain mys­tique that both coaches are coun­sel­ing their play­ers to em­brace and en­joy.

“I’ve spo­ken to the girls about how they should be ex­cited about play­ing in that kind of at­mos­phere, and they should em­brace it,” said Bitzberger.

Even though Downingtown East has a home foot­ball game at the same time at Kottmeyer Sta­dium, Ash­man is hop­ing for solid sup­port from the Shana­han and Downingtown com­mu­ni­ties. Even though the first game isn’t in the books yet. Ash­man said he would love if it ended up be­ing an an­nual event.

The day’s ac­tiv­i­ties will be­gin with a CYO Re­gion 17 all-star game at 4 p.m., fol­lowed by the JVs, then the var­sity at 7 p.m. A $5 do­na­tion wil be col­lected, and fans are en­cour­aged to wear pink.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Shana­han head coach Greg Ash­man came up with the idea for an out­door vol­ley­ball game, which will be played at Satur­day at Jack Mancini Sta­dium.

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