BRADENTON — The motto is short, sweet and cuts right to the chase.
“To pack the stands in pink,” Carla Koleff said.
That slogan rang true Thursday night as fans flocked to Southeast High’s gym for the 3rd Annual Volley for the Cure.
The yearly volleyball match between arch rivals Manatee and Southeast was just a backdrop to the fight against breast cancer.
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Prior to the contest, Southeast athletic director Paul Maechtle, with microphone in hand, began to tell his own dealing with the disease.
It was 1998 and Maechtle — who also is the head football coach — had polished off a playoff victory that sent the club closer to a possible state championship.
So he said he phoned his family to let them know the result, and when he stopped talking, Maechtle said his family asked if he was sitting down.
Maecthle’s sister, Gloria Henkle-Maecthle, was diagnosed with breast cancer and after a 10-year battle, she succumbed to the disease.
In support of finding a cure for breast cancer, Southeast has staged the annual Volley for the Cure that was started by former Noles’ coach Carmine Garofalo.
Now in its third year, co-event coordinators Carla Koleff and Luci McGee said about $3,000 is expected to be raised in this year’s event, which benefits the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Jan Drummey (Manatee) joined the two Southeast parents in getting a round of applause for all the long hours put into organizing the event.
“As soon as the team is picked, then we’re told when the date is,” Koleff said.
And everything from pink and white balloons to pink pencils, T-Shirts, uniforms and a ball with pink stripes was used Thursday night.
Stands on both sides of the gym were used as the parking lot was at full capacity, forcing cars to park on the grass due to the amount of people heading in to watch the game.
That match turned out to be a classic, with Manatee winning 25-21, 25-21, 20-25, 22-25, 16-14.
“You don’t want it to be a 3-0, either,” Canes coach Jessica Hinkle said. “It kept the fans in it and like coach Maechtle said, ‘This makes the sport exciting.’”
Ashley Hagood (28 assists), Hailey Hall (15 kills, 14 digs), Becca Butler (20 digs) and Kayla Armer (20 assists) led the Canes.
Michelle McGee (13 digs), Savannah Byl (16 digs, 15 kills), Tessa Bartges (16 digs), Tori Scovill (18 assists) paced the Noles.
But the match took on a larger-than-life feel than a typical high school volleyball contest.
“It’s always nice to know that you are helping something bigger than you,” Hinkle said.
There was a discounted admission for adults and students who wore the 2010 pink T-Shirts to the game.
The profits from those tickets plus regular admission and concessions all were donated toward the fight against breast cancer after taking out operating expenses for running the event.