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Forest City volleyball team pays tribute to teammate

A girls' volleyball team from Forest City honored a player who recently died and her twin sister.

SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY, Pa. — On Tuesday, the Forest City girls' volleyball team huddled before their season opener at Mountain View in Kingsley.

Senior Haylie McHale broke up the huddle with a new chant.

"This is for Alyssa because she and her sister deserve to be on this court," said McHale.

Alyssa Cahoon was an incoming senior at Forest City Regional High School. She also played volleyball. She died last month at a hospital in South Carolina days after collapsing during training with the National Guard at Fort Jackson.

Doctors then discovered that Alyssa's twin sister Brianna who played volleyball and was also training with the National Guard, had the same rare heart condition.

While Brianna is being treated, Coach Jennifer Dovin says the events leading up to this first game have been hard on the team.

"It's been very difficult. We are not only missing Alyssa, but we are missing Brianna. It's really hard for the girls to really wrap their heads around the season and come with a positive attitude," said Dovin.

The team changed its uniform colors for the season to pink and purple, colors Dovin said were used to tell the identical twins apart.

A tribute that is fitting, according to senior Haylie Mchale, for the two missing members of her volleyball family.

"We are just playing our hearts out for them. This is all for them. They deserve to be here. This is their game, their court, every time we step on it," said McHale.

Dovin says the girls' impact on the court and on the team was something special and may never be seen again.

"Both the girls made all of us better people; they are great kids. They're always a positive attitude. They're just irreplaceable," said Dovin.

The Foresters will continue to dedicate their season to Alyssa and Brianna by playing the game they both loved — volleyball.

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