FRISCO – Melissa head coach Manuel Avila wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Irving’s Uplift North Hills in the first round of the Class 4A Region 2 playoffs Thursday. But it didn’t take long to see that his district-champion Lady Cardinals were more than up to the task. Cruising to a 6-0 first-half lead at Frisco Memorial High School, Melissa finished off the Lady Panthers in relatively stress-free fashion, 9-1.
“We didn’t know what we were getting into,” Avila said. “We expected to come out and play well. We did. We came out, scored early. We got a little bit sluggish there for a few minutes but picked it right back up and kept attacking. I told them at the half, ‘Guys you’ve got to keep attacking. When you get slow because you’re ahead, you get complacent and you give up opportunities.”
Avila noted that all his players got solid playing time in this one, save for one who was wrapping up concussion protocol. “She didn’t play tonight - coach’s decision - but every other girl played at least 20 minutes. That was my goal. It’s what I wanted to do once I saw what the game was going to look like. They all played well. We didn’t notice a drop-off.”
This was the 100th win for Melissa’s girls’ soccer program, now in its fifth year and led since Day 1 by Avila.
Lucy Hurst bagged another hat-trick for the Lady Cards, with all three goals coming in the first half, while Macie Robertson pumped in two of her own before the break. Reese Reddick posted Melissa’s first goal less than three minutes into the match, with the first of Reagan Eichel’s three assists on the evening.
Ten minutes into the second half North Hills got on the board with a penalty-kick goal after a questionable-looking call on Jenna Newkirk. Hanna Waters soon got free for back-to-back goals and an 8-1 Melissa advantage, the second one coming on an empty net from 20 yards out. Bobbi Brosamle-Norton, called up from JV midway through the season, knocked home the Lady Cards’ final goal on a breakaway from the right side with about 10 minutes left to play.
Brittany Morgan was in-net for Melissa in the first half and Anna Blankenship came on for the second. Morgan also got some time at forward late in the game.
The Lady Cards will face Alvarado in the area playoff round at 7 p.m., at Lewisville’s Max Goldsmith Stadium.