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Beverly Oden

A Week of Loss

By March 27, 2012

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Last week, I wrote about the passing of Greg Giovanazzi and told you why he was my favorite coach of all time. The loss was staggering for many of us who knew Gio. At the time I wrote that piece I had no idea that his passing was the first of several we would endure in a single, unfathomable week.

Just three days after Gio passed away, we heard the news that Sharon Kasser-Stephens lost her life after a long battle with breast cancer. It was her second bout with the disease. Sharon was a teammate of my sister Elaina at Pacific and was inducted into the Hall of Fame there just last April. Sharon leaves behind her husband and two young children.

Kasser-Stephens very involved with Susan G. Komen for the Cure. There is a team that will be walking in her honor on November 6th called WWSD (What Would Sharon Do?) You can donate online if you would like to contribute.

Just as we began to accept the loss of Sharon, there was terrible news from Stanford. Sophomore Outside Hitter Sam Wopat died on March 25th at the age of 19. Wopat was the twin sister of Carly Wopat, the starting middle blocker for the Cardinal. She was rushed to the hospital on March 17th after a medical emergency at her dorm and remained in critical condition until her death on Sunday night. The Stanford community is reeling from this loss and struggling to make sense of it all.

Here is the video of Stanford Head Coach John Dunning talking to the local news about the tragedy. Dunning coached both Wopat and Kasser-Stephens.

The somber news also touched the international volleyball community. Italian Olympic silver medalist Vigor Bovolenta collapsed on Saturday after serving a ball during a match with his professional team. He was rushed to the hospital, but died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 37.

There are no words to express the sadness that has enveloped the volleyball world with the loss of four of our own, all of whom left us much too soon.


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