Larry Church and Alex Sing may share lunch this week, but don’t expect the longtime friends to exchange any tactical secrets.
At least not until late Thursday night.
For a few hours, the two friends — and volleyball coaches — will cast their close bond to the side when Church takes his Myrtle Beach squad to take on Sing and North Myrtle Beach. Opening serve is at 7 p.m.
“It’s really cool, honestly,” Church said. “(Sing) was actually the officiant at my wedding. This week we may not share secrets between our respective teams, but he has coached some of my kids and I’ve coached some of his, so we share information in that regard.
“But this week, I don’t think there will be all that much information or secrets being passed between us.”
North Myrtle Beach has won two of three games against the rival Seahawks this season, including most recently at the Lexington Wildcat Invitational. Thursday’s contest holds more importance, though, the Region 7-4A title and a No. 1 seed in Class 4A playoffs hanging in the balance.
“When Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach play, friendships are set aside and it’s a fight to win,” Sing said. “You have two great teams playing a rivalry game for a region title. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
To add a bit of intrigue, the coaches also have a side bet going between them.
“Last time, not only did (Myrtle Beach) lose, but when I saw him later that week I had to buy lunch,” Church said.
When Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach play, friendships are set aside and it’s a fight to win. You have two great teams playing a rivalry game for a region title. It doesn’t get much better than that.
North Myrtle Beach volleyball coach Alex Sing
According to state volleyball rankings conducted by MaxPreps, Thursday’s matchup pits Class 4A’s top two teams.
Continuing its reign atop Region 7-4A is the first step toward another run at a state championship for Myrtle Beach. The defending Lower State 4A champions, the Seahawks come into the match 13-4 overall, and 6-1 in league play.
Outside hitter and all-state performer Gracie Davis leads the charge. Also playing a key role are seniors Darby Sheets, Danni Hix and Lexi Watts.
Though more accomplished last season when it contended for a state championship, Church believes this year he may have a better team.
“Coaching high school sports, on a single night you never know exactly what may happen when kids hit the court,” Church said. “But overall, I think in all facets we are better than last year. When it comes down to it, you have to show it.”
North Myrtle Beach has certainly proven it is worthy of late. The Chiefs comes in 26-8-1, winners in 10 of their last 12 matches.
During that stretch, Sing said senior Maddie Roy has particularly embraced the role of leader. Other key cogs include Sydney Bellamy and Kayla Henley.
Following an impressive showing at the Hub City Classic in Spartanburg, Sing believes his team learned a bit about itself.
“ I feel (the Hub City Classic in Spartanburg) prepared us for the big moments that are to come for this team,” the North Myrtle Beach volleyball coach said. “There is only so much we can do as coaches. Something has to come from the players.
“What we’re seeing now is they’re buying in, they’re leading and ready to get the job done. It is a compliment to them.”