Cardinal had two big games this week to defend its Chagrin Valley Conference title. The Huskies defeated Kirtland, 3-1, on Tuesday then swept Berkshire on Wednesday to clinch their second straight conference title.
“It feels awesome,” said Cardinal coach Lisa Shirkey. “It was definitely an expectation of ours, but to say we’ve done it two years in a row, it’s a good feeling.”
Kirtland won the first set, 25-23, but the Huskies regrouped and won the next three, 25-7, 25-15, 25-13.
“In the first set, I think we gave them 21 of their 25 points. We just did not take care of the ball and we made a lot of errors in the first set,” Shirkey said. “You can’t give up that many points and win a set but we battled back and had mental toughness. That’s what I love about my team, they are more polished, more confident, mentally tough and they decided this is not our game, we’re going to fix it and they fixed it very quickly.”
The Huskies, who improved to 14-5 overall and 7-0 in league play, had little trouble with the rival Badgers.
They won 25-16, 25-22 and 25-13.
With the win, the Huskies improved to 17-0 during their title run seasons.
“The girls were elated,” Shirkey said. “They didn’t really start celebrating until after we shook hands, which is good. You have to pay your respects and they did that and then we did our school fight song, which we always do, and then we celebrated.”
Seniors Alyssa Shirkey and Kaitlin Bean have been major forces for the Huskies during their careers and they both came up big against the Hornets and the Badgers.
Shirkey had 24 kills, 28 service points and 23 digs while Bean posted 23 kills, 16 service points with four aces and 31 digs.
“They really have shown so much leadership,” coach Shirkey said. “The other girls tend to feed off of those two. Both of them are such dynamic players to watch. They always find ways of getting points. It’s been a lot of fun to coach them.”
The Huskies are at West Geauga on Thursday then close out the regular season with Senior Night against Fairport Harding on Tuesday and a road game at VASJ on Thursday.
Cardinal has won nine straight matches.
“We’re in a good spot gearing up for the tournament,” Shirkey said. “It’s given us a lot of confidence. We really haven’t lost a match in a few weeks now.”