As the two most recent teams to win the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division, Kirtland and Cardinal have developed quite a rivalry. Thursday’s match at Cardinal was so intense it was interrupted by the fire alarm that forced the building to be evacuated.
|Caitlyn Lechene had eight kills, four blocks and eight digs for the Huskies|
When play resumed the Huskies cruised to a 3-0 sweep of the Hornets to improve to 7-5 overall and remained the only undefeated team in the league.
“We did a good job,” said Cardinal coach Lisa Shirkey. “Tonight was good to see. It wasn’t the prettiest win for us. We tended to have moments where we didn’t have energy but it was nice to pull out set three after being down. In years past we could have went to four sets and we didn’t. We stayed mentally tough and pushed through it.”
The Huskies were tested twice this week.
They won at Berkshire on Tuesday, 3-1, then defeated the Hornets 25-17, 25-20, 25-22. The win puts the Huskies in the driver’s seat as they attempt to win back-to-back conference titles.
“We’re in a pretty good position,” Shirkey said. “Confidence-wise, that’s going to help us but I don’t ever want them to be satisfied. I want them to keep improving and not settle.”
Cardinal jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the first set and never looked back.
Things got more interesting in the second and third sets as the Huskies came from behind to win.
“The first game, they got a lead on us and that made it tough, but we played them even the rest of the game,” said Kirtland coach Bob Schenosky. “The last two games really could have gone either way.”
Kirtland, which dropped to 3-6 overall and 1-1 in league play, worked hard to take away Cardinal’s powerful hitters.
That strategy worked but Cardinal managed to find other ways to score.
“The blocking effort that we put in today really forced Cardinal into a tipping offense, and they were good with it,” Schenosky said. “That was tough to defend.”
Alyssa Shirkey led the Huskies with 10 kills. She also added two blocks, 13 digs and seven service points. Kaitlin Bean contributed with nine kills, 16 digs and nine service points. Maddie Bean turned in a strong performance with 30 assists, 15 service points and six aces.
Caitlyn Lechene had eight kills, four blocks and eight digs.
She had back-to-back kills in the third set to break a 20-20 tie.
“Caitlyn Lechene had a good night,” Shirkey said. “We noticed early on that if we could run out of the middle we could pick them apart. Our passing wasn’t great today but once we got that under control that’s when we started scoring.”
Despite the loss, Schenosky was pleased with what he saw out of his team, especially Julia Ricketti.
“I think the girls are staring to jell more and more as we get into the CVC,” he said. “I think we had great effort out of our back row. Our front row played well. I’m starting two girls right now that have come up from the JV that are doing a great job. I thought Julia Ricketti had the best game of her season today with her hitting. I thought she did a terrific job.”
Cardinal travels to Fairport on Tuesday while Kirtland hosts Windham in a non-conference match on Wednesday then travels to Berkshire on Tuesday.