The Lady Falcons took the court September 24th against the Patriots of Central Florida with a mission of not only beating the Patriots but playing their hearts out for their coach, Laura Stegall. Stegall was diagnosed with Stage IIIC Ovarian Cancer in February 2019.
Assistant Coach, Laura Anderson, knew she wanted to do something special to recognize Stegall and her long 8 month journey back to health, but she had no idea the event would become so big, and that the outcome would be so grand.
Over 400 Falcon fans filled the gym to celebrate Stegall's recent news that she was NED (No Evidence of Disease) on her first PET scan since finishing her chemo treatments in August. Fans donned Stegall Strong shirts, raised signs in support, and cheered proudly for Stegall and the Falcons as Daytona State College took the floor against conference opponent, College of Central Florida.
The match started slow for the Falcons as they found themselves down 8 points midway through set one. This is a substantial deficit in volleyball, making a comeback in set 1 difficult and potentially out of reach. However, the Falcons etched a comeback of monumental proportions. As a result of great serving and timely errors by the Patriots, the Falcons claimed victory in set 1, 25-23.
Daytona State College gained the momentum and didn't look back. They captured the next two sets, 25-15 and 25-16. The Falcons landed 39 kills on the match hitting an impressive .242 for the night. The defensive effort was evenly dispersed for the Falcons with the team recording 59 digs on the match.
Sophomores, Gabi Soto and Carla Hernandez led the offensive attack for the Falcons. Hernandez recorded 11 kills on the night with Soto adding 10. Sophomore setter, Bruna Avila, directed the attack with 35 assists on the night. The Falcon's defense was led by sophomore libero, Nicole Rodriguez with 13 digs.
"I was overcome by emotion when I walked in the gym and saw so many people wearing teal. The last eight months have challenged my mind, body and spirit. With that being said, I have been so truly blessed with the support of my family, my assistant coach, my team, and truly the entire Daytona Beach Community. I am truly blessed to call Daytona Beach my hometown and even more blessed to represent Daytona State College each and every day," commented Stegall on the special night.
The special event was capped off by a big MFC victory for Daytona State College as they took down the Patriots in three straight sets.
"Eight months ago I knew very little about ovarian cancer and how devastating this cancer is. It is dubbed the 'silent killer' because the subtle symptoms of this cancer often go unnoticed until advanced stages of cancer. I hope events like tonight bring awareness to this disease and its symptoms so that more women catch this cancer in its early stages when it is very treatable," Stegall remarked on the significance of the evening.
For more information on Ovarian Cancer and its symptoms check out https://www.geauxteal.com/ovarian-cancer-facts