Lady Dragons in final four

Posted Monday, Apr. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The energy in Carroll forward Sophie Groff’s voice said it all.

“How can you not be in a good mood?” Groff asked rhetorically.

The Lady Dragons (29-2) clinched their first appearance in the Class 5A state tournament since 2008 – the last time they won the state championship – with a 4-1 victory over Flower Mound Marcus in the Region I championship game this past Saturday at the Birdville Fine Arts & Athletic Complex in North Richland Hills.

The win avenged the regional quarterfinal shootout loss to the Lady Marauders last year. In this one, they rallied from an early 1-0 deficit.

Groff scored two goals. The first tied the game late in the first half. Meghan Murphy scored the go-ahead goal early in the second half, a header that came from Julia Dyche’s corner kick. Groff’s second created some distance for Carroll, 3-1. Danielle Dennis, who has figured little into the Carroll offense this year, added the capper.

Admittedly, Carroll played a cautious first half. And it proved costly as they fell behind. But it appeared that as the game went along, the Lady Dragons became more at ease.

“There was no doubt that we’d come back,” Groff said. “We got an awesome speech from coach [Matt] Colvin that I think motivated us even more. He just talked about us not regretting anything and that we need to make a lasting impression.”

Colvin called the first 25 seconds of that speech more of a chewing out session. However, he used the rest of the time stressing some tactical points that would give the Lady Dragons a better chance.

For Groff, who will be playing in college at the University of South Carolina, the goals were her first in about a month. Now at 24, she had been stuck on 22. She had been battling through a tweaked LCL in her right knee and then in the area playoff win over El Paso Bel Air, she wound up spraining her right arm.

“I wasn’t worried about the scoring,” she said. “[Saturday] I just happened to be fortunate to score two. All of us just had to be able to play and pull together. I knew everybody had my back. We just wanted to get to Georgetown. There’s great leadership on this team.”

5A state tournament in Georgetown

Carroll has already set a single-season school record for wins with 29. Now, the program would like to finish with 31.

The Lady Dragons play the second semifinal against San Antonio Johnson (21-4-3) at 1 p.m. at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown. Plano West (26-0-2) plays Katy Taylor (23-3-2) in first semifinal at 11 a.m. The winners meet for the state championship at 4 p.m. Saturday.

“We were able to compile some information on Johnson and see what we can do to start preparing for them,” Colvin said. “We’re also going to collect some information on Plano West and Katy Taylor so we won’t be scrambling if we’re fortunate to win. The good thing is that they’ll be playing before us.”

Many are expecting an all-DFW matchup between the Lady Dragons and Lady Wolves. But Colvin said his team needs to be prepared to face Johnson senior keeper Morgan Stearns, who has already been named to several national teams.

“For the seniors, they get to experience this for the first time,” Colvin said. “But we’re going to treat this is as a regular work week before we leave Thursday and then get some walk through time in Georgetown.”

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