MOUNT CARMEL -- Some families claim the cliche, 'it's in their blood' when speaking about how gifted the next generation of an athlete is in the family.
For the Goldman family, it's much more than any cliche. Volleyball's a family affair, a sport instilled deeply into the very foundation of the family.
Julie and Russ Goldman first met at Mount Carmel after graduation, when Russ went up to help his sister Mandy Leach coach at the high school, and Julie, fresh out of high school, also returned to help out.
Julie was there for her sister Alicia Berberich Tinsley -- who was still at the high school at the time -- for what was just a seemingly fateful encounter, destiny per say.
Relatives such as Leach, Julie and Russ Goldman themselves, Kim Friese Berberich, and Tinsley, all have prior volleyball experience, whether it be donning Mount Carmel's maroon and gold, or even higher aspirations.
Leach played at Wabash Valley College, where she was an All-American, then went on to the University of Evansville to play and was highly successful. Berberich also played at WVC, then went on to play at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, another Division I volleyball player in the family.
With such a deeply rooted connection, it serves as no surprise that the sport is a family affair, one they'd pass down to the next generation.
For Mount Carmel senior Madeline Goldman, that was essentially as soon as she could walk.
"I've been playing since I was a little kid," Madeline Goldman said. "My family's very committed to volleyball, all of my family members have played so ever since I was a baby basically."
As the first born of the Goldman children, it's no surprise that Madeline began at such a young age. Julie and Russ recall Madeline working on her passing in their basement when she was as young as three years old.
"She'd work on ball control, which made a huge difference," Julie Goldman spoke of Madeline. "Our family, we have a lot of volleyball in the family, so she's always loved it because we naturally love it too. She started playing when she was three or four years old. In junior high [she started played] when they first started offering it, it was in the sixth grade."
Following suit with her family's passion, Goldman began to fall in love with the game as well. Whether it be studying the game growing up whenever allotted the opportunity to watch a collegiate or professional volleyball contest, or playing on her own.
When Madeline at last got a sister, Marissa, albeit Marissa being almost four years younger, she didn't have to just practice her trade alone, she had a partner she could play with. In turn, the Goldman's upgraded and got a volleyball net in their side yard, an upgrade over playing in the basement.
"The girls play volleyball all of the time outside," Julie Goldman said. "They'll go back and forth for hours outside and they do that all summer long."
PERSONAL LIFE AND ASPIRATIONS:
As the first daughter, Madeline was also the first granddaughter for her four grandparents, who she each had a strong connection with.
Julie and Russ said Madeline had an especially strong relationship with her grandfather Joe Berberich, who was an instructor at Wabash Valley College prior to his passing.
Berberich used to watch Goldman when she was younger, prior to her enrolling in kindergarten, allowing the two to build a strong connection. Julie joked that Madeline entered kindergarten with an advantage because she had a college professor teaching her for years.
"He was a good teacher to her, she'd always listen because she's a good listener," Julie Goldman spoke of Madeline's relationship with her grandfather. "She takes instruction well from her coaches, from us and even her teachers. But she's always done that because he would teach her all kinds of stuff. She was so smart even when she was heading into kindergarten, she hadn't been to preschool but had a college instructor teaching her for years."
Berberich had suddenly developed Parkinson's disease in his latter years, which started to deteriorate. Russ said Madeline was with Joe every step of the way though, through thick and thin with the deadly disease.
"She was very, very close with him," Julie Goldman said. "He had gotten Parkinson's, started declining and she was with him the whole time. It was very hard on her, I'd say it's made a huge impact on how she acts and the effort she puts forth. He was a perfectionist and he was always encouraging too. I know he played a huge role, he's impacted her life a lot."
Her experience with her grandfather fueled her aspirations to one day be a neurologist and find a cure of Parkinson's disease for much of her life -- something she's not as sure of as she's set to enter college -- but still prodded her in the direction of the medical field.
On a brighter note, Julie and Russ said that Madeline had always had one other goal in life other than becoming a neurologist, and that was to knock someone out in volleyball.
"Her aunt Mandy once knocked a girl out in a game and [Madeline] heard that story real young and held onto that," Russ Goldman said. "Her longest goal for a long time was to knock someone out, just hit them so hard. She's never gotten big enough to do it."
Much like the effort she exerts into seeking that first KO, Madeline also puts an exceptional amount of effort into her academics, boasting a Straight-A line.
She's involved in organizations at the high school, including National Honor Society, Youth Advisory Board, Carmel Crazies, Aces For Christ, and she also takes the Health Occupations class that her and three other teammates take.
She likes to draw, binges on Friends reruns, hangs out with friends, and of course maintains a close relationship with her family.
"She's also very funny, she's really witty too," Julie Goldman said. "She takes after her dad Russ in that aspect."
"Best thing is we know we can trust her," Russ Goldman added. "For a 17-year-old girl, I think that's the best thing a dad could say."
HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL CAREER AND FUTURE:
As a freshman, but having played volleyball for over a decade to that point, Goldman was already extremely skilled in comparison to her peers.
Despite starting the season on the freshman and JV teams, Goldman began to make her impact on the team. Her skill began to impress, to the point where Mount Carmel Head Volleyball Coach Kelsey Beckerman elected to promote the then freshman to the varsity squad, where she began starting shortly after.
That freshman year Goldman wasn't as strong, a little smaller, but made up for the disadvantages by being a student of the game and her advanced skill. That blend allowed Goldman to crack the rotation despite the Lady Aces having six seniors at the time.
"She was pretty small as a freshman, she's gotten a lot stronger and she just continues to study, she likes to study the game," Russ Goldman said. "ESPN they'll have the big colleges playing and she'll sit there, point stuff out and watch it all of the time."
Over the ensuing years of her high school career the Lady Aces endured some bumps in the road, included a 15-40 record in Goldman's sophomore and junior seasons, but it was all building toward her stellar class' senior campaign.
"We're all really good friends, we all love to play volleyball each other," Madeline Goldman spoke of her teammates. "We're all pretty close on and off the court. . . . We're probably also close because we've been through some really hard seasons. Now that we're here we don't have that much to lose and we want to show everybody that we can do it, kind of prove everyone wrong."
Goldman had been in the weight room, aiming to become stronger, she was refining her swing to improve its velocity and looking to pick her spots a little more on her spikes. That's showed in her senior season, Goldman's routinely been in the top two on the team in kills each night, showcasing her new and improved velocity.
"Just her confidence too I think has grown tremendously -- a freshman starting varsity, your freshman's going to be high," Beckerman spoke of Goldman. "Going into this senior season for her she knows where she needs to be, she knows what she needs to be doing and she displays that on the court. When she's consistently putting balls away she's a tough one to stop."
Along the way she's compiled some great memories. From beating Edwards County for the first time in her career, beating a Big Eight Conference foe for the first time in her career, it's been an incredible year of firsts, and a year that's flipped the script on the fortunes of Mount Carmel's volleyball program.
"Beating Edwards County was a good feeling just because of who they are," Goldman said. "That was a good accomplishment just because of the stigma. The Big Eight teams it's always good to have a win, especially because of our past of losing games that we really shouldn't have lost. It felt good to compete with an actually good team."
Other memories from her high school career include her and fellow senior Kassidy Drone showing up in cheetah print spandex for the Vincennes Tournament a year ago, and the quality time spent on bus rides her sophomore season with the seniors at the time.
Her Lady Aces (13-5) have flashed serious postseason potential in stretches, specifically in their close loss to Fairfield. If they were to close Goldman's senior year with a revenge tour, defeating the Mules, defeating Carmi and claiming the Regional crown for the program -- Goldman says such a feat would be the best memory of all.
"It would mean so much, we haven't won Regionals in a long time," Goldman said. "This year we have the best chance of doing it, it would mean a lot."
Senior Night is just around the corner for Goldman and her four senior teammates, as they'll say farewell to the adoring fans at the Hilltop in one last encore.
It'll be an emotional night for the Goldman family, with their first daughter nearing a conclusion to her high school career. They'll certainly have more days at the Hilltop ahead with Marissa's inevitable arrival at the high school, but Madeline's departure will be a tough one to swallow.
"I think it'll be bittersweet," Julie Goldman said. "We're really excited for her because she's doing so well, but at the same time it'll be the end of high school volleyball for her. I think it'll be exciting as she starts new chapters, start some new things, but I'm sure it'll be sad at the time."
Madeline predicted that her dad, Russ, would likely cry the most. Russ wouldn't deny Madeline's allegation, joking that he easily cries.
"I'm a crier, all the parents look at me," Russ Goldman laughed. "At the National Anthem I cry."
It's never easy losing someone who's started since their freshman year, as will be the case in replacing Goldman. Beckerman cited she'll specifically miss Goldman's work ethic and her soft-spoken, but powerful leadership style.
"It's hard when you're going to lose another three and a half year starter," Beckerman said. "She's one of the hardest working girls in practice, kind of that quiet demeanor as well. We're kind of evenly split as a group as evenly as you can be with a group of five, she and Jess are more my quiet ones, but her leadership as far as demonstrating what needs to be done will definitely be missed."
It seems as if Goldman's wish of knocking out an opposing player with a spike is nearing an expiration, as she doesn't plan to pursue volleyball any further as of now. She's still planning on pursuing something in the medical field, as to any specifics she's not sure yet, offering Pre-med as a probability for her major once she arrives in college.
She spoke of the University of Indiana and the University of Evansville as two schools she's considering as of right now.
If her volleyball career does indeed come to a close, one could only hope for it to be in a triumphant fashion. As volleyball-enriched as the Goldman family is though, I wouldn't expect Madeline to stray away too far from the sport that's given her so much. Who knows, maybe one day she'll have kids of her own who she'll instill with the same passion, much like her parents did with her.
"I know she'll probably continue to play for fun, intramurals or whatever," Julie Goldman said. "She'll always play it I'm sure, just as we've played for fun, I know she'll continue to play it. Then we have Marissa coming up next year at the high school, so it's not like we're out of it yet."
"I'm sure she'll sit here and help me with Marissa, Julie will be out there bumping with them," Russ Goldman said. "I don't really see it stopping."
Senior Night for Madeline and her fellow seniors is this coming Monday (Oct. 14), when they host Lawrenceville for a match beginning with the freshman teams at 5:15 p.m. The varsity game will likely commence shortly after 7 p.m., with Senior Night festivities preceding the match.