CHERRY HILL, N.J. >> There were few volleyball players in the Big East in 2015 more able to jump up and bat something down than Villanova’s Gabby Pethokoukis. By then, by contrast to everything else, in context, that ability had come to shape her life. It’s what happens when a rare disease steals even the ability to walk from one part of campus to the other.
She was a star, in high school at Benet Academy near Chicago, and almost instantly on Lancaster Pike, where by her sophomore season she was a second-team All-Big East player, a 6-foot-4 middle with bounce, accomplished in jumping up and making blocks. But one day she felt a lump in her throat area.
She thought it might have been that mononucleosis becoming a pest again, as it had been during her freshman season.
It was worse.
It was much worse.
It was cancer.