Lacrosse players spread the word to honor Seton Hill coach, team
Lacrosse programs from across the country are paying tribute to the Seton Hill women's coach, Kristina Quigley, who died March 16 while the team was on a bus to a game at Millersville University.
A tribute to the Seton Hill women's lacrosse coach, Kristina Quigley.
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This week, they are all Griffins.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of players across the country are wearing crimson and gold to honor Seton Hill women's lacrosse coach Kristina Trionfo Quigley and her team.
A bus crash took the lives of Mrs. Quigley, her unborn child and driver Anthony Guaetta. The team was on its way to Millersville University Saturday when the bus left the Pennsylvania Turnpike and crashed into a tree. The school has canceled games through the rest of the month, and possibly, the season.
"We were distraught and wondering what we could do for them," said Lindsay Bullock, a junior who plays for the Marymount University team in Arlington, Va. After her cousin, Malory Brunett, a member of the Frostburg State (Md.) University program, suggested her teammates would wear shoelaces or ribbons in the Seton Hill Griffins' colors for their next game, they came up with the idea of a "Play 4 Seton Hill" Facebook page.
Ms. Bullock said the response was immediate, and emotionally overwhelming: "I made the [Facebook] page on Saturday evening around 7 o'clock and by 9, I was bawling."
The team took to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, sparking tributes from Palo Alto, Calif. to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to Surrey, England.
Ms. Bullock's teammate at Marymount, freshman Adriana Labella, said it all began Saturday, when some of the players were discussing the accident. They felt a particular sadness because they knew their coach, Beaver County native and former Pitt student Jamie Reynolds, had been a friend of Mrs. Quigley.
Feeling helpless, Ms. Labella turned to Twitter: "That's what you do nowadays, you tweet your feelings," she said.
Using the hashtag #Play4SHU, they tweeted the idea of honoring Seton Hill at various lacrosse sites and communities. People immediately began retweeting the conversations.
" 'Millersville is in, Shenandoah is going to do it, Gettysburg,' about 30 teams right off the bat," Ms. Labella said.
Young players held moments of silence before games this week. They wove ribbons through their hair, wrapped red-and-gold tape around lacrosse sticks, made posters, switched out their shoelaces for Seton Hill colors. They took photos and posted them to social media, and as more of them heard about Play 4 Seton Hill, they spread the word.
There even was a photo of Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, who wore a ribbon on his lapel Tuesday night during his team's game against the Washington Capitals.
"From the top levels, the [NCAA] Division I teams to others just starting out -- I think I saw a picture of a fourth-grader's first stick that hasn't been used yet, decorated with ribbons -- the word is out," North Allegheny High School lacrosse co-coach Mollie Montgomery said.
Ms. Montgomery said the tribute was fitting, given her friend's good nature. Last year, after a member of the Seton Hill men's team lost his father, Mrs. Quigley arranged to have her players at the viewing.
"Kristie was such a special person; she really deserves the kindness that's been in her honor," added Ms. Montgomery, who was coached by Mrs. Quigley at Duquesne University and was her assistant coach last year at Seton Hill.
North Allegheny's top player, Emily Palmieri, was recruited by Mrs. Quigley and will be playing at Seton Hill. As a further tribute this season, the Tigers will draw the number 14 -- Mrs. Quigley's number when she played at Duquesne -- on their wrists.
The social media effort is driving traffic to a crowdfunding website, http://www.gofundme.com/2bt9g4, where a friend is collecting donations for the college education of Gavin, the young son of Mrs. Quigley and her husband, Glenn.
As of Wednesday afternoon, it had raised almost $45,000. Family friends, professors from Seton Hill, a grade school class, the Greensburg Central Catholic lacrosse team and a local bank were among the more than 800 donors.
Millersville is selling wristbands for $8 apiece to benefit the fund, and Marymount University is designing a T-shirt for a similar purpose.
The social media campaign continues to gain momentum, spreading beyond the lacrosse community. Typical was this Wednesday morning tweet from Community College of Baltimore County player Emily Boller, which included the hash tag #onelaxfamily: "It's game day, but today we play for a bigger reason #play4SHU."
First Published March 20, 2013 6:30 pm