“We Play For Ben,” was the main objective of the Greenwich High School girls volleyball team Wednesday night against visiting Danbury.
The undefeated Cardinals entered the match determined to put on another sensational showing, while raising awareness and money for the Acute Flaccid Myelitis Foundation.
Ben Chisholm, the 6-year-old son of former Greenwich High School student athlete Becky Ranta, has Acute Flaccid Myelitis a disease that attacks the nervous system — especially the gray matter of the spinal cord. It causes weakness in limbs, the face and the eye muscles and in some cases can even result in permanent paralysis.
Ranta was a three-sport athlete at Greenwich High, competing on the school’s volleyball, basketball and softball teams. Greenwich’s girls volleyball team has held a “We Play For Ben,” game since 2016 to benefit the rare disease, which currently has no cure.
Ben attended Greenwich’s match against Danbury held in his honor on Wednesday night, as the team’s raised awareness for the illness and raised funds. As for the match, Greenwich posted 3-0 win, taking the match by set scores of 25-12, 25-4, 25-10. The victory raised the Cardinals record to a sparkling 16-0.
“Ben has a rare condition and he can not do what most of us can do, so we tried to not take that for granted tonight and give it our all – like jump as high as we could, run for every ball and I think that showed on the court,” Cardinals senior tri-captain Adele Sotgiu said. “We didn’t make many errors and we played a clean game.”
Danbury couldn’t gain momentum due to Greenwich’s efficient and effective serving. Senior tri-captain Sophie Jones recorded 15 aces, while Sotgiu had four aces for the soaring Cardinals.
“The team functioned really well and Sophie’s serving was incredible,” Sotgiu said. “We weren’t making any errors, so I think we did a good job.”
Said GHS junior outside hitter Maggie Saleeby: “It was great, Sophie Jones got her serves in and got the lead for us today. It’s looking good for the rest of the season. We’re a really solid team, we have a good connection with each other and we’re really loving the team this year.”
Senior middle blocker/tri-captain Liana Sarkissian registered a team-high 11 kills, while Saleeby posted 10 kills and Sotgiu tallied six kills in the winning effort.
“We didn’t make a lot of mistakes and our serving was good,” Sarkissian said. “Sophie was serving amazing today – ace after ace – and that changes the game.”
The Cards were proud to play for such a worthy cause.
“It’s a great cause and it gives us something to play for,” Jones said. “Especially when he’s here and the family is here and everyone comes to support him.”
Said Sarkissian: “It was really nice. Playing for something bigger for ourselves and our team makes us play that much better. We wanted to play so much better for Ben.”
Greenwich visits Westhill tomorrow, then hosts Wilton on Tuesday.
“I was so happy to see Ben, he is grown up and moving,” GHS coach Steve Lapham said. “We gave him a care package. It was a win-win situation for everyone tonight.”