MELISSA — The Lady Cardinals swept to victory in all four of their Highway 5 Showcase matches, Jan. 18-20, at Cardinal Stadium. In contests with ILT-Garland, Denison, Bridgeport and Sunnyvale, three Melissa wins came via shutout and the other in a bit of a slugfest. The Lady Cards played two matches Thursday, one on Friday and one on Saturday.


District play for 4-0 Melissa begins Feb. 6.


Melissa 5, ILT-Garland 0


After frigid weather cancelled their Jan. 16 season-opener at Frisco Independence, the Lady Cards finally got on the pitch Thursday, routing International Leadership of Texas-Garland, 5-0.


Melissa’s first goal of the season came off the foot of Reese Reddick with 10:25 left in the first period and the score remained 1-0 at halftime.


Early in the second period, Gillian Stopinski put back a rebound off the Lady Eagles’ goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead. Emma Schaeffer’s straight-on shot from 25 yards out added another goal for the Lady Cards with 13:30 left to play.


Four minutes later, Stopinski picked up her second goal, sending a rebound of her own close-in shot back into the net. Erin Eichel completed the scoring with a close-range shot as the clock ticked below 10 seconds.


“What I wanted to see today was the younger ones get some time on the field and I saw that, I saw good things,” Melissa head coach Manuel Avila said. “But I was most pleased that the chemistry started to develop there in the second half — from all the players. I didn’t see it as much in the first half, but it was our first half all year. It was exactly what I wanted to see. It was really exciting to see that at this point in time — really, so early.”


Already approaching mid-season form? “Yeah, that’s where I felt we were,” Avila said, “and I felt really good about what we were able to do as far as keeping possession of the ball, moving the ball around the field. Lots of different girls got involved in the scoring today.”


The Lady Eagles of ILT-Garland compete in the Texas Charter School Academic and Athletic League.


Melissa 4, Denison 3


The Lady Cards claimed a hard-fought win over Class 5A Denison in their second match on Thursday. An Emma Schaeffer goal gave Melissa a 1-0 lead, but the Lady Yellow Jackets soon answered. The Lady Cards advantage went to 3-1 on Gillian Stopinski’s goal and an own-goal by Denison.


The Lady Jackets scored again, but Reese Reddick’s goal pushed Melissa’s lead to 4-2. Denison added another goal late.


Melissa 2, Bridgeport 0


In the early match on Friday, Melissa took down Class 4A Bridgeport with goals from Gillian Stopinski and Emma Schaeffer.


Melissa 3, Sunnyvale 0


Emma Schaeffer booted in a goal and Gillian Stopinski scored twice as the Lady Cards logged another shutout in Saturday’s finale versus Class 4A Sunnyvale.