TERRE HAUTE —
High school volleyball teams from Terre Haute South and Terre Haute North continue to raise funds for needy causes at their annual regular-season match, and today should be no different.
The volleyball should be pretty good too.
“Volleyball for the Small” is at North this year, with junior varsity play beginning at 6 p.m. Union Hospital’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit has been the cause in recent seasons and continues to be, with funds generated helping the NICU’s Family Assistance Program.
“It goes for gas cards and food cards [for families of hospitalized infants],” coach Kris Painter of North explained this week.
How successful is the fund raising? An estimate of monies raised over the past three years is probably in the $30,000 range. Fans who haven’t already purchased their 2012 T-shirts can support their favorite team by doing so tonight, the price of admission.
How good is the volleyball? Tonight’s winner looks to be a factor in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference standings, after both teams split opening conference matches Saturday. Both are stocked with veteran winners.
And for additional entertainment, there’s that monkey that will be hanging around.
The figurative simian will enter the gym with the home team, which hasn’t beaten South in a regular-season match in many years. Painter hasn’t beaten the Braves in the regular-season match during her tenure as coach, which is at 14 years now, and the streak lasts longer than that — although North did beat the Braves in South’s tournament last fall.
South coach Madison Minnick, undefeated in the regular season as both a player and coach, doesn’t see the streak as a factor tonight.
“[The South players] don’t know any different,” she said. “To them, it’s just this year’s North-South game.”
South enters the match with a 9-8 record, while North is 8-3 — statistics that are absolutely meaningless once the ball is in the air.
“I know it will be exciting. Anytime it’s North-South, it’s always exciting,” Minnick said this week. “Last year went five games, so I kind of hope it’s not that exciting. … But it will definitely be a big match.”
“It’ll be a close one, comparing who we’ve both played,” Painter agreed. “I have basically my same team back [from last year] and [Minnick] has basically her same team back. It will be a good North-South battle, like it always is.”
Minnick’s hope for her Braves tonight involves “keeping unforced errors to a minimum, staying focused and executing what we’ve worked on in practice.”
Painter is hopeful the Patriots might have an advantage in the service game — “We had a really good serving day Saturday [in the MIC openers] and that’s one of our strengths,” she said — but her main hope is much more basic than that.
“We just need to settle down and play,” the coach concluded. “That’s the key to any North-South match.”