CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Cedar Grove and Verona have battled plenty of times in other sports this fall, including once in volleyball. However, Thursday’s battle is extra special as the Cedar Grove High School and Verona High School Girls’ Volleyball teams are battling to raise money for a good cause.
Thursday’s match is not only a rivalry game, but also a charity game for Dig Pink, which is a tour run by the Side-Out Foundation to help promote and raise funds for breast cancer research.
Cedar Grove has made a tradition of being one of the hosts for this event and always gets their biggest crowds of the year.
“We’ve looked forward to Dig Pink every year,” said Verona Head Coach Jeff Steifbold. “It’s an awesome cause and Cedar Grove always packs the house.”
“This charity adds to the rivalry,” added Cedar Grove Head Coach Alicia Angione. “We have a much larger crowd that will make a big difference for the girls with all of the people cheering them on.”
Added to the fun is the chance for players to face familiar foes, from even before they entered high school.
“I know a lot of the girls on Cedar Grove from playing club volleyball with them and I went to kindergarten with them,” said Verona volleyball player Carly Waterman. “It’s going to be exciting to see them and play them.”
In their earlier meeting this season, Cedar Grove won a tight match 2-1 against Verona, but Verona did not have their star Waterman, so they will look for redemption with her on the floor this time.
“Redemption is a lot of motivation,” noted Waterman. “We’re just going to play our game and keep our heads up, win or lose.”
The Panthers have had an incredible season with a 19-6 record overall, while the Hillbillies are 14-11 overall. However, this Dig Pink game is not about records, but rather about rival teams coming together to help a good cause. The higher stakes of bragging rights between the cross town rivals only adds to the excitement.
“It definitely feels different than other games,” said Angione.
While the game may be a different, the strategies seem to remain the same for both sides.
“We (Cedar Grove) have to control our serves and keep us in control of the game,” noted Angione.
“We (Verona) have to serve well, pass well, stay composed, and just play good volleyball,” said Steifbold.
The rivals will square off on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Cedar Grove High School. Cost of admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students.