Melissa’s Lady Cardinals defeated Alvarado, 4-2, in the Class 4A Region I Area playoffs on March 31 at Northwest ISD Stadium in Justin, Texas. With the win, Melissa advanced to the regional quarterfinals to face Fort Worth Diamond Hill-Jarvis at 6 p.m. Monday at Denton High School.

“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 (our) players like (junior midfielder) Kendall Bates,” Melissa head coach Manuel Avila said.

Lady Card junior forward Gillian Stopinski opened the scoring six minutes in on what Avila called “a simple shot that the keeper was simply unable to handle.” Stopinski struck again 12 minutes later, eluding her man-to-man defender to boot a loose ball into the net. Before halftime, Melissa senior midfielder Josie Monk put in a long-range shot that kissed the top crossbar as it found net for the Lady Cards’ third goal.

In the second half, injuries to Bates and Sarah Weideman — sustained from “hard tackles” — caused both to leave the game, forcing Melissa’s reserves to step up. Senior Amanda Kocsis soon found junior Emma Shaeffer open for a slip pass, which Shaeffer buried for a 4-0 Lady Cards lead. Alvarado would then score two late goals.

Diamond Hill-Jarvis takes down Cards in area round

Diamond Hill-Jarvis knocked off an injury-beset Melissa squad, 9-0, in the Class 4A Region I Area playoffs on March 31 at Northwest ISD Stadium in Justin, Texas. After falling behind early, 1-0, three Cardinal starters were forced from the game with injuries in the first half, including goalkeeper Josh Love, midfielder Nick Lanier and defender Chris Medina.

“These boys had been critical to the game plan laid out, but were unable to compete in the match,” Melissa head coach Kelley Pitzer said. “The silver lining in the situation was senior goalkeeper Nate Smith who stepped up and did a magnificent job. Seeing limited time all year, Smith played outstanding and gave the Cards a glimmer of hope.”