By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
Volleyball is near the top of Bonita High School senior Allie LaPierre’s priority list.
But it’s not the only thing that she finds important. LaPierre knows all about maintaining the proper balance between athletics and academics. But she also pays attention to the issues of the day. And now LaPierre has found a way to combine her love for volleyball with an issue that is important to her.
She is helping organize Bonita’s contribution to the Side-Out Foundation’s “Dig Pink” rally, which will be held throughout October to raise breast cancer awareness.
The organization is hoping to raise $700,000 nationally toward breast cancer research, with Bonita seeking to reach a goal of $500. More information can be found via the Internet at www.side-out.org/application/teams/team_page/1368.
The Bearcats’ “Dig Pink” match will be Oct. 20 against Walnut. They will be one of 614 high school and college teams to hold similar fundraisers throughout October.
“It’s really important to me because I think there are so many people who have been affected by breast cancer,” LaPierre said. “It can ruin so many lives. I think it’s really important that we try and focus on what we can do to fix it.
“It’s important that we all try and help out and try to get educated on what’s going on. It’s really exciting to me that we can help out and fix it.”
It’s a major undertaking for a teenager and her teammates, but one she feels necessary. The workload to get it accomplished is hefty and it includes getting the word out and ordering special uniforms, as well as providing special merchandise and promotions.
But LaPierre said it’s all worth it.
“I just thought it would be a really cool thing to do at Bonita,” said LaPierre, who first heard about the rally while at a UCLA volleyball camp in the summer. “I hope (players) after me can keep doing it (here at Bonita), and keep it as a tradition.”
LaPierre is already continuing a solid tradition at Bonita. She is the latest in the line of all-area players from the school in recent years, and the senior may be the best of the bunch.
She is a member of PrepVolleyball.com’s top 100 senior aces, and she’s played like it this season, leading the team with 88 kills through eight matches. But that’s not her only contribution to the Bearcats, who are ranked No. 2 in CIF-Southern Section Division 3-AA this week.
“What makes Allie such a good athlete is that she is so versatile.” Bonita coach Adriana Contreras said. “I can put her in any position in the front row and I know she will get the job done.
“She is so darn athletic, it’s great. She brings so much to the team.”
It’s the team aspect that appeals to LaPierre, who has been part of a Bonita unit that has advanced to the divisional semifinals and quarterfinals the past two seasons.
It should be no different this season as the senior is surrounded by a solid core, which also includes outside hitter Katie Kirby, setter Ashley Maxfeldt and middle blockers Victoria Dennis and Lauren Mierke.
“My favorite part of playing is, I like blocking,” LaPierre said. “Attacking is obviously fun, but I think also, not just the skill, but there’s just something intangible about being a player with your teammates. There’s just something about when your out there and you all click. That’s what I love to do, connecting with them and winning and playing as a team.
“We have a lot of great players. It’s great because we all are finally finding a way to work together. It’s a lot of fun. I love that it’s not just about me.”
But LaPierre is reaping the rewards of that success. She will walk on to UCLA next year and receive a scholarship for the final three years of her collegiate career.
She said she had an offer to go east, but she’s truly a Bruin at heart.
“I’ve been a Bruin since the day I was born,” LaPierre said. “My aunt, both of my parents graduated from UCLA. I’ve grown up around UCLA and their sports and academics, and have never had any other connection with any other school.
“When UCLA contacted me, it felt like it was something that was meant to be. I was supposed to be a Bruin.”
But first she has some unfinished business as a Bearcat, and it looks promising for Bonita to make another run at the Miramonte League title and the CIF-SS playoffs.
“There’s always areas where you can improve,” LaPierre said. “We have stuff to work on. But we’re going to work hard and try to improve ourselves.
“Hopefully, we can keep growing and improve throughout the season and CIF and be the best team we can be. I don’t think we’re there yet, but we are doing fine right now.”
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