CEDAR GROVE, NJ - On Thursday night, Verona and Cedar Grove joined forces for a good cause in the annual Dig Pink match run by the Side-Out Foundation to promote and raise funds for breast cancer research. Despite the packed Cedar Grove gym full of Panthers in pink, it was Verona outside hitter Carly Waterman that stole the night, as she led the Hillbillies to a 2-0 road win over the Panthers.
In their first meeting, Waterman was absent with an injury and Verona noticed it with a loss. This time, Waterman made her impact known with 20 kills in a two-game match. Verona won the first game 25-19 and the second 25-11.
“If anybody was in the gym, they saw what kind of impact she had on this game,” said Verona Head Coach Jeff Steifbold. “She had an unbelievably great match passing, serving, and spiking. She’s so smart and she’s a leader.”
“I was really disappointed when I missed the first game and to come back now and get 20 kills feels really nice,” noted Waterman.
Verona had the challenge of crowd noise to overcome, with the charity match bringing out the biggest Cedar Grove crowd of the season.
“We had a big talk about how loud they were going to be and how terrific they are,” said Steifbold. “I told them to just play our game, focus, and take the crowd out of it by playing good volleyball.”
“We used their energy to keep our energy up,” added Waterman.
On Cedar Grove’s side, they have had a very successful season with a 20-6 record going in, but errors got the best of them in this game.
“We have to make fewer errors,” said Cedar Grove Head Alicia Angione. “There were service errors, passing errors, and hitting errors. Errors are what is going to make or break us.”
In a rivalry game under these circumstances, victory can be triumphant, but defeat can hurt the most.
“It’s obviously disappointing. We have seven seniors and this was their last Dig Pink. It’s just sad,” noted Angione.
While the game was important for both teams, Dig Pink’s impact on breast cancer awareness was the main goal for the night.
“It feels better to have the great atmosphere from both towns and raise a good amount of money for a good cause,” said Steifbold. “I’m more proud of that.”
“I told the girls after the loss the big picture here is that we’re here to raise money and promote breast cancer awareness,” added Angione. “That’s what this thing is really all about.”
After this game, the regular season is winding down for both teams and their minds will start to look to the state tournament.
“We’re going to use this win to help build towards states coming up,” said Waterman.
“The girls just have to pick it up and make their serves,” noted Angione. “They can push through. They’re a great team. They deserve to go far in states and they just have to buckle down and do it.”