Northampton Press

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Volleyball tops Allen

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 by tom wenborg Special to the Press in Sports

The Northampton Konkrete Kids girls volleyball team snapped a three-match losing skid by defeating Allen 25-9, 25-7, 25-9 on Monday at Northampton High School.

Leading the way for the Kids were Sydney Heffner with 8 aces, 4 kills, and 16 assists, Brooke Rockovits with 9 kills, and Kayla Best with 6 digs and an ace. The win boosted the team’s record on the season to 5-6.

However, Monday in the Lehigh Valley volleyball community was about more than wins and losses, or the push to qualify for the District XI playoffs. Whitehall hosted the first of a series of five events at high schools across the Lehigh Valley to support Northampton girls volleyball coach Jess Finlayson, who was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this summer. Northampton will be supporting its head coach and 8th grade math teacher with an event tonight in the high school gym.

Jess has recently started radiation and chemotherapy, but that has not stopped her from continuing to find joy in the sport she loves.

“Even though I coach, I still play in a lot of leagues. When I come to volleyball, I come for two hours for practice and I forget that I have brain cancer. It just helps in general. Because this is my life and this is what I love,” Finlayson said.

After the Allen match, the team’s seniors and captains, Abby Franke, Emily Gehris, Sydney Heffner, Brooke Rockovits, and Jillian Wiswesser, shared some of their thoughts on their coach.

“Jess doesn’t bring it up. She doesn’t let it affect the way she coaches and what she expects from us.” “We all kind of play for her. We try our best for her because volleyball is a huge part of her life.” “It makes the losses a little harder because it feels like we’re letting her down.”

Jess spoke about how grateful she is to have so much support in her fight.

“It’s crappy that you have to wait until you’re sick to see how much you’re cared for,” Finlayson said. “But at the same time, I never knew I was this cared for. I would love for lots of people to come to the brain cancer awareness night. I really hope these stands are full.

“I know I’m going to have doctor’s bills that I’m going to have to pay. But I want to donate to a couple organizations that I’ve found that support adolescents and young adults who have cancer. I don’t think that there’s enough awareness about people in this age group who get cancer.”

The evening will begin with the JV volleyball match at 5:30 pm and the brain cancer awareness event will follow immediately after the conclusion of that match. Gray is the symbolic color of brain cancer awareness, so wearing a gray shirt is strongly encouraged.