The Melissa Lady Cardinals won 4-3 in a shootout at the regional soccer final on Saturday, and this week, will advance to the UIL 4A Soccer State Championships for the first time in Melissa High School history.
Now standing at 21-0-2, the Lady Cards began the season unranked in the regional standings, after losing seven seniors from last year’s team, and with six freshmen starting. As the season progressed, the team garnered notice.
Ahead of district play, Melissa had advanced to the number-two spot in the region. The team completed their fifth-straight district run without a loss, finishing 7-0-1, edging out Celina for another district title.
“From the beginning, we knew these young girls had some real talent and could do great things. We knew we had to get better each game, and learn to play together.” – Manuel Avila, Girls’ Soccer Coach
The Lady Cardinals played in the regional semifinal on Friday, April 12. In a close battle and with only two goals, Melissa slipped past Paris to the next round of the playoffs.
Saturday’s regional final against Longview Spring Hill was a tough test for the Lady Cards, but they ultimately earned another victory: this time, a trip to state. Regulation ended at 2-2 and into extra time, but neither team found the game winner. To break the tie, both teams would move to kicks from the mark: five players from each team would take turns until five had taken kicks to decide the winner.
Hanna Waters, Reagan Eichel, Genevieve Stopinski, Lucy Hurst, and Macie Robertson stepped up for the Lady Cards. Waters was up first and converted. Next, Eichel also converted. Stopinski fired over the goal.
After three shooters, it was a 2-2 tie after Brittany Morgan saved the second shooter’s shot. Hurst converted, and before Robertson could shoot, Morgan would save a second shot.
“When we went to kicks, the girls knew they could convert because we have been working on those for weeks,” Avila said. “You could see the confidence in the kickers, and it poured over into Britt, who made two huge saves.”
Macie Robertson then stepped up and punched the Lady Cardinals a ticket to state, as she netted the final kick: 4-3 winners in shootout.
The Melissa Lady Cardinals play Liberty Hill in the state semifinal this Wednesday, April 17 at 1:30 p.m. at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown. The winning team will play in the state final on Thursday, April 18 at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets to the semifinal cost $12 for adults and $7 for students. An all-tournament pass is available for $30. For more information, visit the link below.
Photo courtesy of Bruce Tomlinson / HBT Photography.
Maddie Coe, Community Relations