FRISCO — In their first match versus a Class 5A team this season, Melissa’s Lady Cardinals scrapped hard but eventually came up short. Frisco Heritage used its power, size and multiple- big-hitter lineup to prevail in straight sets - but not without a fight.
The Lady Coyotes’ winning ledger in this non-district volleyball tussle, Aug. 27, at Heritage High School: 25-23, 25-21, 25-19.
Sets 1 and 2 were particularly tight throughout as Melissa (13-4) repeatedly chipped back.
The Lady Coyotes (15-8) took their biggest leads of the night in Set 3, enroute to that 6-point win.
Melissa head coach Frank DePaolo said Heritage exposed two things his team needs to improve on: serve-receive and making pressure serves. “When we got down really big we started serving well because we weren’t under pressure. When it’s 22-23, you’ve got to get the ball in.
“In Set 1 … [Heritage] had four or five missed serves and that allowed us to get a little bit of momentum. Our serve-receive wasn’t under a lot of pressure so that allowed us to get into our offense. We were not out-of-system very often in Set 1. Toward the very end of that set we had a few errors here and there. I really think if we’d won that set it would have been a different match.
“We still battled in Set 2. If we’d have taken either one of those I think we probably could’ve gotten to five [sets].
“They’re the best team we’ve played this year. … They had more hitters all the way around than we did. And I think a lot of their out-of-system hits were a lot better than our out-of-system hits. That’s huge.”
First-year Heritage head coach Ashley Foster said her team’s strong serves played a key role this night. “They’ve got a nice little outside [hitter] over there,” she said, a nod to Melissa’s Caroline Kasson. “When we can keep them out-of-system it helps. They fought and they actually did well as far as passing some of our balls. We looked real good on our side and were fluent, but I think our serves are what helped us out a lot.”
Kasson finished with 12 kills and two solo blocks, both team-highs, while Ella Branson logged a team-best 11 assists. Brooklee Waltrip’s six kills were second only to Kasson’s total.
KG Matthews posted five kills, nine assists and nine digs, and Kenzie Segleski served up a team-high three aces. Libero Chelsea George led Melissa with 18 digs and she collected the team’s other ace.
The Set 1 slugfest featured 15 ties and seven lead changes, and neither team led by more than three points. The Lady Cards were aided early on by four Heritage serves that sailed long. A fifth Lady Coyotes’ service fault found net, pulling Melissa to within 12-10. Kasson then erupted for four outside kills over the next seven points to keep the Lady Cards close at 15-14. Back-to-back Waltrip kills had Melissa within a point, 18-17, before Matthews’ right-side kill to the deep middle tied things at 18.
Kills by Ally Marshall and Ally Stinton down the stretch knotted it again at 21-all but a Lady Coyotes ace reset their lead to 24-22. Heritage logged one more service fault before a right-side kill to the middle ended the set.
Set 2 began as tight as the opener but Heritage took a late 8-point lead and cruised home with four points to spare. Twice in this one the Lady Cards trailed by four points and rallied to tie – once at 11-11 after an ace by Segleski and a Stinton kill; and 15-all after a pair of Kasson kills.
Down, 20-15, DePaolo called timeout but out of the break Heritage struck for three-straight aces. The Lady Cards clawed back to within 23-20, boosted by a Kasson kill and Maldonado’s tip-over kill to the middle, but would get no closer. A Melissa service fault to the net closed it out.
In Set 3, the hard-hitting Lady Coyotes got out to leads of 9-2, 12-3 and 19-9 before Melissa recovered to trail by six, 19-13, a push capped by George’s service ace. Three Heritage hitting errors and a Marshall tip to the middle got the Lady Cards back to 22-19, but the deficit would shrink no more.
On Friday at Melissa Middle School, the Lady Cards (17-5) were topped by Class 5A Wylie East, 25-19, 25-20, 25-18. This match was sandwiched between Melissa’s appearances in the Nocona tournament on Thursday and Saturday.