The Melissa High School Boys’ and Girls’ Soccer teams began their playoff quest Friday night.
Melissa Cardinals vs. Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis
The boys took to the field first against Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis. From the start, the Cardinals realized that this was going to be an uphill battle. In the opening minutes, Diamond Hill went up 1-0. From there, the Cards struggled to create chances, and simply could not avoid the injury bug.
Three separate Cards left the game in the opening half with injuries, and they were substantial including midfielder Nick Lanier, defender Chris Medina, and keeper Josh Love. These boys had been critical to the game plan laid out, but were unable to complete the match.
“A silver lining in the injury situation was senior goal-keeper Nate Smith, who stepped up and did a magnificent job,” said Coach Manuel Avila. “Seeing limited minutes all year, Smith played outstanding and gave the Cards a glimmer of hope.”
In the end, the Cards bowed out in the Area round.
Lady Cardinals vs. Alvarado
The Lady Cardinals later took on Alvarado, looking to take the next step toward regionals.
In the first minutes, it was evident that the matchup would be physical, and Alvarado came in with a good plan to try to contain players like Kendall Bates.
Six minutes in, the Lady Cards had their first goal, and their dream start. The goal was a simple shot by Gillian Stopinski that the keeper was unable to handle.
Before the half, looking for insurance, a combination play between Josie Monk, Katie Brown, and Gillian Stopinski led to a shot from the distance by Josie Monk that clipped the crossbar as it slipped under.
At the half the Lady Cards were looking to take control, but key injuries forced their hand. Kendall Bates and Sarah Weideman both got knocked out of the game on hard tackles, leaving the reserves for the Lady Cards to pick up the slack.
A delicate little slip pass to Emma Schaeffer from Amanda Kocsis, and Schaffer would finish the deal, making the lead four.
Alvarado would pick up a couple of late goals, but the Lady Cards held the lead. In the end, Melissa secured a 4-2 final win.
The Lady Cardinals play Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis in the Regional Quarterfinals Monday, April 3 at 6:00 p.m. at Denton High School, 1007 Fulton St. in Denton.
Contributor: Manuel Avila
Media Contact: Maddie Coe, Community Relations