The Melissa Lady Cardinals needed just three sets on Tuesday, Oct. 17, to defeat Aubrey’s Lady Chaparrals at the Bird Cage — avenging their lone district loss this season. The Lady Cards victorious line read, 25-22, 26-24, 25-16. “They were really pumped for this one,” Melissa head coach Frank DePaolo said of his team. “We had a really good week of practice. The girls were really ready for it.”

The Lady Cards’ win set up a showdown at Celina on Friday, Oct. 20, with both teams owning first-place 7-1 district records before play. Melissa previously defeated the Lady Bobcats in four sets at home on Oct. 3.

With the loss, Aubrey’s district mark falls to 5-2, third place in District 11-4A.

Sophomore Caroline Kasson led with 13 of Melissa’s 36 kills while junior Susan Blake collected 12, freshman KG Matthews notched five and senior Aubrey Grantham swatted four. Top Lady Card hitting-percentages this night went to Blake’s .292 and Kasson’s .286. DePaolo also noted the passing numbers of Melcher with a 2.1, Blake with 1.93 and Kasson with 1.88. “I’ll take those every day,” he said.

The Lady Cards posted three solo blocks, one each from Grantham, Blake and Kasson. DePaolo pointed to Grantham’s stuff of Aubrey’s leading hitter, in particular. “That was a really big play for us,” he said. “It really kind of sparked the team.”

Of Melissa’s six assist-blocks, junior Anna Fortenberry and Kasson each tallied two and freshman Abbey Maldonado and Matthews each had one. Junior Sophia Davis posted 19 of the Lady Cards’ 32 set-assists while junior Charley Lane added 11. Four Lady Cards totaled double-digit digs, with Kasson’s 20 on top, followed by Melcher with 14, Blake with 13 and Davis with 11.

“It puts us right back to where we were last year,” DePaolo said of the win, “except … last year in the last game of the year if we had won we would have tied for first and I guess would have had a play-in game. But Friday, it’s winner-take-all. Whoever wins, wins district.”