Staff reports

In their first matches of the season last week, Melissa’s Lady Cardinals finished the Liberty Hill soccer tournament with a 2-1-1 mark against some of the toughest competition in Texas, including 2019 Class 4A state-finalist Liberty Hill and 4A regional-semifinalist Midlothian Heritage.

On Jan. 2, the Lady Cards defeated 4A Salado, 2-1, with second-half goals supplied by Jenna Daniel and Lucy Hurst.

Versus Heritage on Jan. 3, in a match Melissa Head Coach Manuel Avila called “very physical,” the Lady Cards were edged out, 1-0. These teams, Avila noted, could potentially meet in this year’s regional finals.

In their second match that day, Melissa rolled past 5A Copperas Cove, 5-0 – a showing Avila called the Lady Cards’ best of the tourney. Payton Wallace scored a hat trick for Melissa while Briley Bowen and Hanna Waters booted home one goal each.

On Jan. 4, in a rematch of last year’s Class 4A state semifinal, the Lady Cards battled Liberty Hill to a scoreless draw. Liberty Hill prevailed in last April’s state-semifinal meeting 2-1.