CALLISBURG — Melissa’s Lady Cardinals rolled north to Callisburg last week and came away with a three-set sweep of the defending Class 3A volleyball state champions, 25-16, 25-12, 25-14. Coming in, it was hard to know what to expect from the Lady Wildcats who had graduated eight seniors after three-straight state-tournament appearances and a 45-4 state-title run.


Whatever challenges revamped Callisburg would present this night, Lady Cards head coach Frank DePaolo said he had reminded his charges that they administered one of the Lady Wildcats’ four losses last season.


“I expected them to be pretty scrappy,” DePaolo said of Callisburg after the decisive win. “Coach (Angela) Allen is a really, really good coach. But it is kind of tough to go to state, go to state and then win state. It’s really tough to keep that going. … I just wanted us to be consistent. I wanted my hitters to hit the ball in the court and force the other team to play defense. And we did a really good job of that tonight.”


Melissa (5-3) dominated from start to finish, allowing Callisburg (0-5) one lead all evening: 1-0, at the start of Set 3.


All told, the Lady Cards served up 11 aces, with libero Chelsea George swatting a team-high four. Caroline Kasson logged 13 of Melissa’s 38 kills while KG Matthews and Brooklee Waltrip knocked down seven each and Abbey Maldonado added five.


Matthews logged a team-high 23 assists and Ella Branson was next with 15. Matthews and Kasson recorded one solo block each. George, the team’s top passer at the recent Wimberley tourney, shined again at Callisburg with a 2.84 rating. Branson and Kasson posted marks of 2.75 and 2.72, respectively.


With the Lady Cards in control, DePaolo was able to play everyone. “We’ve got a couple of kids still fighting for spots and I thought everybody played well,” he said.


In Set 1, Waltrip’s kill from the outside made it 20-11, Melissa, and soon back-to back big swings from Kasson and Matthews pushed the margin to 22-12. Down the stretch, Kasson’s kill to the middle pushed the Lady Wildcats to the brink at 24-15. A Callisburg ball into the net ended it.


The Lady Cards blew out to an 8-0 lead in Set 2, with Ally Stinton’s kill kicking things off for Melissa. An Ally Marshall kill sent the lead to 9-2 before Callisburg edged back to 9-5. Matthews then erupted for a block sandwiched by two kills and the Lady Cards led, 16-5. The advantage then swelled to 20-7 and 24-9, punctuated by Waltrip and Marshall kills.


In Set 3, the Lady Wildcats stayed close early on. But after Kasson’s big left-to-right deep-corner kill made it 8-4, the Melissa moved out to a 15-6 lead. Waltrip posted two kills and Sydney Norton slapped an ace during that stretch. After a brief Callisburg run, kills by Kasson and Matthews, and a Paityn Garlington ace, sent the Lady Wildcats to timeout, down 19-10. From there, the Lady Cards cruised home. A big-swing serve by Kasson ended the match.