After their fourth-straight undefeated run through district play and again reaching the regional-quarterfinals in the playoffs, Melissa’s 2018 Lady Cardinals received notable recognition in the recently released District 5-4A awards list. Thirteen Lady Cardinals were singled out, filling superlative award spots for Most Valuable Player, Co-Defensive Player of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year and earning five first-team picks, three second-team picks and two honorable mention nods.
“It’s just a huge testament to the team and what they accomplished,” Melissa head coach Manuel Avila said.
Lady Card superlative winners included Reagan Eichel for MVP, Britanny Morgan for Goalkeeper of the Year and Sarah Weideman for Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
As for junior midfielder Eichel, Avila said, “The coaches spoke a lot about her diversity. She was the player you had to worry about going forward, the player you had to worry about, defensively, in the midfield. A lot of times, she took on the other team’s best player. … She was the kid, too, that was going to score some goals. And she had several assists this year. She was kind of the all-around player.”
This was Morgan’s third-straight Goalkeeper of the Year award. Avila noted that the district coaches’ decision for the Melissa junior was unanimous. “The Argyle coach nominated her and immediately everybody else was like, ‘Absolutely.’”
Concerning the senior Weideman, Avila said, “The coaches wanted to recognize her because she was obviously our leader as the senior [defender]. They applauded the defense because we had five shutouts and only gave up three [district] goals this year. … The five shutouts is, I think, the best we’ve done and her being the leader of that group just spoke volumes for her.”
Earning first-team honors for Melissa were seniors Emma Schaeffer, Gillian Stopinski and Erin Eichel, as well as Reese Reddick and Jenna Daniel. Second-team awards went to senior Kaitlynn Griffin and Hanna Waters and Grace Tegerdine. Melissa’s Genevieve Stopinski and Ellie Schaeffer earned Honorable Mention recognition.
“Honestly, there were some tough decisions made,” Avila said, “because there were a couple of kids that we felt like could’ve been first team off of the second team. They were all very deserving. I think they all had a good year. … You’d like to put them all there on the first team, but there are only so many spots.”