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    Cardinal seniors leave behind a lasting legacy

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    LEAVITTSBURG–Cardinal seniors Alyssa Shirkey and Kaitlin Bean walked off the court at LaBrae High School on Wednesday night fighting off the tears welling up in their eyes. Tears no doubt caused by a 3-0 loss to Gilmour Academy in a Division III district final.

    Gilmour cruised to a win in the first set, 25-10, and then fought off the Huskies to complete the sweep, 25-16, 25-17, for the second straight season.

    “Set 1, obviously we didn’t show up,” said Cardinal coach Lisa Shirkey. “I thought we did some good things in set two and set three but we never found that consistency and momentum and that’s huge. It’s a whole different league when you play teams like Gilmour.”

    The red, watery eyes of Cardinal’s seniors could just have easily been the result of the joy that overcame them when reflecting on what each accomplished in her Husky career. Shirkey and Bean were part of Cardinal teams that won back-to-back undefeated Chagrin Valley Conference titles and also led the Huskies to consecutive district runner-up finishes.

    They just didn’t have enough firepower to compete with the Lancers.

    Make no mistake, Gilmour has a very good volleyball team and it should. The Lancers are made up by some of the east side’s top high school volleyball players.

    Just one of the Lancers is listed as having attended Gilmour Middle School. The other 14 come from cities such as Chesterland, Highland Heights, Aurora, Lyndhurst, Perry, Chagrin Falls, University Heights, Mentor, Kirtland and Solon.

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the net, the Huskies are all homegrown. Middlefield born and raised.

    In fact, seven of the nine players listed on the Cardinal varsity roster have parents who attended Cardinal High School. The parents of the other two attended nearby schools West Geauga and Berkshire.

    The Cardinal players were born into the program and played for their school, their community and their teammates.

    That’s what makes the accomplishments of Shirkey and Bean, as well as their younger teammates, so special.

    “As far as our program, the girls have always bought into it,” coach Shirkey said. “It’s a testament to the hard work and determination that they have.”

    While their high school careers came to a close on Wednesday, Bean and Shirkey both likely have a lot of volleyball left to play.

    Bean already has committed to play volleyball at Ashland University and Shirkey is weighing her options.

    Both leave behind lasting legacies.

    “Big shoes to fill with those two,” coach Shirkey said. “Kaitlin, she’s a rock. She has accomplished so much in her volleyball career and grown so much as a player and a person. Kaitlyn is going to help Ashland University’s program big time. Alyssa, she hasn’t made any decisions yet but she’s definitely thinking about it. She’s grown so much as a player and an individual. “

    The Huskies finished the year with an 18-7 record.


     

    Steve Harehttps://www.ohiovarsity.com
    The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.
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