SuburbanOneSports.com recognizes a male and female featured athlete each week. The awards, sponsored by Univest, are given to seniors of good character who are students in good standing that have made significant contributions to their teams. Selections are based on nominations received from coaches, athletic directors and administrators.
Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Female Athlete for week of Dec. 4, 2019
For Lizzie Shirley, call her indoctrination into the sport of volleyball a happy accident. Or, better yet, a blind leap of faith that has paid major dividends. Like many kids growing up, Shirley started on the mainstream path, with soccer and softball being her top two sports. Then, when she was in fifth grade, the Central Bucks South senior sat down with her dad to peruse other athletic options at the CYO level. They randomly chose volleyball. “I thought it might be fun to try it, and I fell in love with it right away,” Shirley said. “After the first practice, I knew it was the sport for me. I loved the team aspect. Volleyball is all about teamwork. You can’t do it all yourself and you rely on your teammates so much. That’s what made me stick with it, and here I am now.”
Given her position of setter, it’s no surprise to hear Shirley gush about the collective effort it takes to have success on the volleyball court. In volleyball, the setter serves as both the team communicator and facilitator. It was Shirley’s job to make sure her teammates were correctly lined up and knew the play that would be run on offense. Additionally, she held the responsibility of determining which hitter would get the ball based off the position of the pass to give teammates the best opportunity for a kill at the net. Like a quarterback or point guard, the team’s offense ran primarily through Shirley, and unless a game was a blowout, she never came off the court in her final three seasons as the Titans’ starting setter.
Kurt Godfrey became the head girls’ volleyball coach at CB South five years ago, one year before Shirley got to high school. In addition to his four years of coaching her at South, Godfrey is also Shirley’s club coach with East Coast Power, which just began its season, making it the eighth season Godfrey has coached Shirley in the past four years. “Our program is infinitely better because of Lizzie and the things she accomplished on the court,” Godfrey said. “She’s the first kid since I’ve been the head coach that was elected captain as a junior. She’s always been a student of the game, and her volleyball IQ is strong. Not only does she fully understand our offense, but she also understands everything that goes on on the other side of the net. She reads the other side and knows what teams will throw at us, which helps our defense and blocking schemes. As a captain, she is incredibly encouraging to her teammates. Everybody feels comfortable in going to her, and she keeps the team together in that sense. It’s her job to build a family culture, and Lizzie is a shining example of what a captain should be.”
Shirley is also a member of South’s HOSA Club, a student organization for future health professionals. She is a lover of the sciences and has taken AP courses in biology and chemistry. The idea of becoming a pharmacist is appealing to Shirley’s helpful nature. She has committed to continue her volleyball career at Jefferson University. “She is a caring, exceptional person inside and out,” Godfrey said. “Just an exact example of what a captain and friend should be. On the court, she was the one constant presence we had. Great mindset, attitude and work ethic, and I’ll really miss the familiarity I have with her. Watching her grow as a player and person has been a distinct favorite memory of mine.”
To read Shirley’s complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/female/lizzie-shirley-0088479
Univest’s SuburbanOneSports.com Featured Male Athlete for week of Dec. 4, 2019
Roll back the calendar to Oct. 12, 2018. The moment was big, probably too big for a soccer-player-turned-kicker just two months earlier. That, however, didn’t prevent Cheltenham football coach Ryan Nase - with all-league kicker Justin Grady sidelined with an injury – from giving junior Drew Moreland the nod to kick the extra point after Cheltenham broke a scoreless tie in the Panthers’ Senior Night game against Hatboro-Horsham. “I was comfortable in the jayvee games, but being thrust into a situation like that with all that responsibility on my shoulders was hard, and I couldn’t perform - (the kick) was short and wide,” Moreland said of his extra point attempt. “It was really hard because we only lost by one (7-6) in the game, but everyone on the team was helping me and telling me to keep my head up and that everything was fine.”
Fast forward to Moreland’s senior year, and everything was even better than fine. The senior kicker closed out his career with a school record 64 points for a Panther squad that won both the SOL American and District One 5A titles and advanced to the state title game. Listening to Nase tell it – Moreland’s response to a shaky varsity debut tells you all you need to know about the Cheltenham senior. “Drew got absolutely thrown into the fire, showing up on a Friday and not knowing he was going to have to kick,” the Panthers’ coach said. “He misses the extra point, and we lose 7-6. Obviously, everybody takes the easy way out and blames the kicker because we lost by a point, but we fumbled three times inside the five. To come back and be as solid as he is this year is a real testament to the type of mental toughness that he has. Plus there’s the added pressure of just replacing Justin Grady in general, and it never really fazed him.”
A four-year starter for the soccer team and a captain this fall, Moreland – an honors student who is active in school life - didn’t really need to add one more thing to his schedule when Cheltenham soccer coach Bill Tonkin asked if he had an interest in kicking for the football team last year. “Drew was kind of on the fence about it at first. I said, ‘Try it, see if you like, it,’” said Tonkin, himself a kicker in high school. Moreland agreed to give it a try, and he remained a key player on the soccer team “He was my go-to guy and a good leader,” Tonkin said. “I need someone to play here because someone is hurt – okay, Drew, go play here. Drew go play there, and he was always ‘All right, no problem.’ Whatever the team needed, Drew did.”
Moreland places a high value on academics. His course load is filled with AP and honors classes, and he carries a weighted 4.68 GPA. He is a member of the National Honor Society and the Black Scholars Program, an organization for higher achieving African-American students. He is a member of the robotics team, and he also plays the cello and has been a member of the select chamber orchestra since he was a freshman. In preparation for his final soccer season, he ran indoor and outdoor track last year. “He’s just a kid that does everything right,” Nase said.
Moreland has applied to Georgia Tech, Pitt, Stevens Institute of Technology, Northeastern, Michigan, Pace Western, UMBC and Drexel. He plans to major in biomedical engineering with an interest in doing research. “I feel like being able to do research would give me a chance to help people, which is something I really want to do,” said Moreland, who has not ruled out the idea of kicking in college. “It’s really insane going from being completely a soccer player to kicking for one year and then being the starter and getting to the state final. Besides something to do on a Friday night, I’ve become a part of something bigger than myself, much bigger, which is just insane.”
To read Moreland’s complete profile, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/featured-athletes/male/drew-moreland-0088476