xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Westminster senior Cassi Shields leaves behind special legacy as Carroll County volleyball Player of Year | Fall 2021 All-County

Westminster senior Cassi Shields is the 2021 Carroll County Times Volleyball Player of the Year.
Westminster senior Cassi Shields is the 2021 Carroll County Times Volleyball Player of the Year. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Westminster volleyball coach Evan Frock knew immediately he had a special player in 2021 Times Player of the Year Cassi Shields.

“I met Cassi her freshman year and invited her to play up with my 17s team for a couple of tournaments and she stood out even then,” Frock said. “I can’t tell you how excited I was when her family informed me that they wanted Cassi to come to Westminster. She was an instant varsity starter.”

Advertisement

Shields came to Westminster after developing a love for the game under the tutelage of Frock’s father, Thom, while playing for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Bravehearts. Shields credits the elder Frock for not only giving her a solid foundation of volleyball basics, but also sparking a passion for the game of volleyball.

“When I was in fifth grade, the FCA was offering a volleyball clinic and my mom signed me up,” Shields said. “I immediately fell in love with the sport and played on the FCA Bravehearts the next fall. Coach Thom Frock was an amazing coach and shared his love of the game. He not only taught us basic skills, but he also encouraged us to do our best and pushed us to be competitive. He taught us how to play with integrity and honor God with our play.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“The ability to mix my faith with an activity that I loved was a dream come true. Since then, I’ve never looked back.”

Shields was the centerpiece of a powerful Owls’ frontline that helped claim the program’s fifth straight county title this season and racked up over 40 straight wins prior to falling in the 3A regional final to Howard. The senior’s best play came in the biggest games for the Owls.

In a regional semifinal win over Marriotts Ridge, Shields paced the Owls with 31 kills as Westminster dug out of an early hole and rallied for a four-set victory. In a county-title clinching win against Liberty, the senior had four straight aces during a decisive run in the second set for the Owls.

For Owls coach Evan Frock, Shields’ legacy extends beyond what she did on the court.

Advertisement

“Cassi had a huge role for us on the court this year, but also in the practice gym and weight room,” Frock said. “Cassi is more committed than any player I have coached to improving herself in the weight room. It shows when she towers over opponents hitting or blocking at the net. Her commitment rubbed off on many of her teammates to push themselves like Cassi.”

Westminster senior Cassi Shields hits a ball at the net as Century's Eva Brandt defends during the third game of their match on Sept. 28, 2021.
Westminster senior Cassi Shields hits a ball at the net as Century's Eva Brandt defends during the third game of their match on Sept. 28, 2021. (Dylan Slagle)

For Shields, the dedication and work to improving her craft all comes from the love of the game she has developed. She has spent countless hours on the court and in the gym working to perfect her game.

“I just really, really love the game,” Shields explained. “I played volleyball all summer. Whether I coached younger players or participated in specialized clinics, I worked hard to make myself better. During the season, I practiced six days a week. I also lifted for an hour before practice. I think that my time spent in the weight room really helps make me a better player.”

After graduation, Shields plans to keep playing volleyball at Cedarville University in Ohio, while studying sports medicine. She will pursue a career as an Athletic Trainer, while also planning to pass on her passion for the game to younger generations.

“I definitely want to coach volleyball in the future,” Shields said. “If I can share my love of the game with the next generation, as my coaches have done with me, I’ll be thrilled.”

Shields says she will always be thankful for the strong bond that she felt with her teammates. That strong connection helped Westminster navigate an undefeated regular season while playing as a team with a huge target on its back given the reputation of the program.

“We bonded right off the bat at our play days, and it just continued from there,” Shields said. “The girls really stepped up and worked hard. Other schools played hard against us and we were definitely met with challenges. [Opponents] didn’t let us off easy but we pushed through as a team and encouraged each other. [The] coaches promote team unity.”

Shields is confident that her younger teammates like Emma Reaves, Faith Mohr and Payton Bell can carry the torch for the Owls as the team looks to claim a sixth straight county crown next season.

“I feel so blessed to have been part of this team,” she said. “I’m excited to return to watch the girls win again next year.”

FIRST TEAM ALL-COUNTY

Outside Hitter

Paige Coulson, Liberty, junior

Sarah Hart, Liberty, junior

Cassi Shields, Westminster, senior

Middle Blocker

Eva Brandt, Century, senior

Emma Reaves, Westminster, sophomore

Libero

Cali Kalishek, South Carroll, junior

Staci Kutzler, Winters Mill, senior

Ellie Yaider, Westminster, senior

Setter

Faith Mohr, Westminster, sophomore

SECOND TEAM ALL-COUNTY

Century: Maggie Abramson, senior; Ichechi Mba, junior; Jasmine Stanton, junior. Liberty: Jenna Liska, junior; Grace Maerten, sophomore. Manchester Valley: Sarah Brisson, junior; Libby Burkhouse, junior. South Carroll: Ava Fogle, senior. Westminster: Cici Mason, senior.

FINAL STANDINGS

Westminster (12-0 county, 15-1 overall); Century (9-3, 15-4); Liberty (9-3, 12-4); South Carroll (6-6, 10-8); Winters Mill (3-9, 3-12); Manchester Valley (3-9, 3-13); Francis Scott Key (0-12, 3-13); Gerstell (7-3 IAAM C, 7-8).

STAT LEADERS*

Kills: 1. Cassi Shields, W, 295; 2. Eva Brandt, C, 200; 3. Sarah Hart, L, 181; 4. Uchechi Mba, C, 160; 5. Paige Coulson, L, 119; 6. Jasmine Stanton, C, 110; 7. Emma Reaves, W, 109; 8. Kelsey Holman, FSK, 106; 9. Sarah Brisson, MV, 101.

Assists: 1. Faith Mohr, W, 423; 2. Maggie Abramson, C, 375; 3. Grace Maerten, L, 354; 4. Libby Burkhouse, MV, 256; 5. Sarah Buckingham, WM, 205.

Digs: 1. Cali Kalishek, SC, 244; 2. Rowan Walsh, MV, 191; 3. Paige Coulson, L, 180; 4. Ellie Yaider, W, 158; 5. Staci Kutzler, WM, 140.

Aces: 1. Cassi Shields, W, 66; 2. Paige Coulson, L, 63; 3. Lindsey Willie, SC, 47; 4. Ellie Yaider, W, 37; 5. Faith Mohr, W, 32.

Blocks: 1. Ava Fogle, SC, 39; 2. Alisa Shotwell, L, 35; 3. Cici Mason, W, 30; 4. Emma Reaves, W, 29; 5. Cassi Shields, W, 26.

*based on regular season statistics

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement