March 17, 2016
By Leigh Torbin
Sometimes an organization looking to impact its community picks a preferred charitable endeavor from a list of worthy causes. Sometimes the charity picks you.
Directly touched by the scourge of relationship violence, the No. 5 Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team will do its part to raise awareness on Saturday when the Irish host their inaugural Friends of Victoria Game against No. 9 Virginia (another program tragically touched by relationship violence). First draw is set for 2 p.m. at Arlotta Stadium.
Friends of Victoria (“FOV”) commemorates the life of Victoria McManus, sister of Notre Dame senior defender Katherine McManus, who was murdered by her ex boyfriend in May of 2014. Katherine’s parents, Ann Beach and Peter McManus, along with her sister, Caroline McManus, will all be on hand for the event. Beach and Caroline McManus will participate in a special ceremonial first draw prior to the start of the contest.
“Many of us lived through one of the worst tragedies anyone’s friends, sister, daughter or mother could even imagine,” Notre Dame head coach Christine Halfpenny said. “We were all affected by the tragedy and the relationship violence which took a life too young. For us to rally around Katherine is part of us giving back to the McManus family for how much they’ve given us by giving us Katherine for four years. For us it’s all about education, awareness and support. We’re excited about our inaugural event and this becoming a yearly event for us.”
Along with FOV, both Notre Dame’s greeNDot program, run through the University’s Gender Relations Center, along with the One Love Foundation, will be a part of the event. The greeNDot program, which has been popular with the Irish Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, localizes the national Green Dot initiative to proactively prevent relationship violence. One Love celebrates the life of UVa women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Reynolds Love, who was murdered by her ex boyfriend in 2010, by educating, activating and empowering campus communities to end relationship violence.
The One Love Foundation annually presents an award to college lacrosse’s unsung hero. Katherine McManus was its 2015 recipient.
The Irish will wear green uniforms on Saturday — it was Victoria’s favorite color and the color of her eyes — along with patches with the FOV logo. The Irish will also wear FOV shirts during pregame warmups. The Cavaliers, the team for which Love once donned the number one, will wear One Love T-Shirts during warmups.
During the second half of Saturday’s lacrosse doubleheader, the Notre Dame men’s team will wear FOV decals on the back of their familiar gold helmets. The Irish coaching staff will also wear green shirts on the sideline to help promote relationship violence awareness.
Donations received during the contest will benefit the Victoria Ann McManus Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund helps a student attend Loyola University Chicago’s Master of Arts in Public History program that McManus had been accepted prior to her passing. The Irish will host a halftime “lacrosse toss” similar to hockey’s “chuck a puck” and also a “goal-a-thon” where fans can pledge a certain amount of money for each Irish goal scored on Saturday (Notre Dame leads the nation at 16.56 goals per game). Fans will be encouraged to match Halfpenny’s pledge of $10 per Irish goal.
In unable to attend the game, fans can still pledge a donation by calling either the women’s lacrosse office at (574) 631-3374 or athletic marketing at (574) 631-9910.
For more information on Notre Dame’s Gender Relations Committee and the school’s greeNDot program, go to StudentAffairs.nd.edu.
For more information on the One Love Foundation, go to JoinOneLove.org.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team while serving as the football publicity team’s top lieutenant. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.