By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff writer
MELROSE — The fourth-seeded Melrose Lady Buffaloes are headed to the second round of the District 3-1A tournament after beating fifth-seeded Dora in three games, 25-13, 25-8, 25-20, in the opening round of the tournament Tuesday night at Melrose.
Melrose was without two starters Tuesday night. Starting setter Zanessa Dodd, and sophomore Laney Widner were both out of town with FFA. Lady Buff head coach Sonja Moyer said freshman setter Kelley Wagley played well in her first significant starting action of the year, filling in for Dodd.
“She stepped in really well, and the girls passed for her well,” Moyer said. “I was really proud of the way they passed, and they were talking, they were real relaxed, and that’s something we haven’t had all year.”
The Lady Buffs began the first game strong, taking a quick 4-1 lead, before the Dora girls took six of the next seven points, to take their first lead of the game, and their only lead of the entire match, 8-7, capped by a kill from Dora sophomore outside hitter Kendra Merrick. But the Melrose girls responded, scoring the next nine points, including a service ace from junior Toni Burdine, and a kill from senior Lauren Widner, to give Melrose a 16-8 lead. The Lady Buffs took nine of the final 12 points, to win the first game 25-13.
The Lady Buffs dominated the second game from start to finish, taking a fast 14-2 lead on the strength of two service aces from senior Kimberly Lyons, and several scoring kills from junior outside hitter TaNeil Roberts. The Lady Coyotes took three of the next four points, but the Lady Buffs took 10 of the final 13 points, to win the second game 25-8.
Melrose began the third game in much the same fashion, taking a quick 5-1 lead. After trading several points, Melrose took five of the next six, to take a 12-3 lead, but down two games to none, and trailing in the third game, the Dora girls fought back. The Lady Coyotes took 11 of the next 17 points, including a double block and several kills from eighth-grader Kelli Merrick, to crawl to within four points. The Dora girls also took six of the last nine points, but it wasn’t enough, as Melrose won the third and final game 25-20.
Dora (6-14, 0-8) head coach Myra Skinner said she played a very young team Tuesday night; three eighth-graders, a freshman and two sophomores, and was proud of how her young team refused to give up.
“The future looks bright,” Skinner said. “We didn’t quit, we played until that last point, and that is a plus.”
Melrose (9-9, 2-6) travels to Floyd (10-10, 4-4) tonight, in the District 3-1A tournament second round.
“I’m looking forward to it, it’ll definitely be an interesting match. We haven’t played them with this setter, so it will be something different. If we play like we played tonight, I have a good feeling about it.” Moyer said.