Lady Dragons coach knows a winner when he sees it

Posted Monday, Apr. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Matt Colvin likes to use the annual January non-district tournament in Georgetown as a barometer as to where his Southlake Carroll girls soccer team is going.

It’s an either/or scenario. Either his team has the goods to be a serious contender or it’s just going to be a solid team with questions that will eventually catch up in the playoffs. The timing of the tournament is perfect because it is days before the district season begins.

“We go there because we want to get a sense of the direction of where they are going to go,” Colvin said. “It’s pretty much a turning point. We’re either going to go the right way or the wrong way.

“But as we were driving back on the bus, I just got this feeling that this was going to be something special.”

It’s hard to put into words or justify why Colvin felt this way. He just did. The Lady Dragons proved him to be a prophet as they returned to Central Texas three months later. It didn’t end the way they wanted in a 4-1 loss to Plano West in the Class 5A state title match. But it doesn’t mean the season went for naught.

Carroll enjoyed another banner season in another sport. Boys and girls cross country won state championships, as did boys and girls swimming.

The baseball team, which just missed going to the state tournament last year, has the health of left-hander and no-hit specialist Tyler Alexander. Third baseman Kenny Hill has support in the lineup to reach Round Rock in June.

For the Carroll girls soccer team, the signs weren’t so much what happened on the field to validate it but what Colvin saw away from the white lines. Seniors put arms around freshman in a way to make feel like they were a part of the team. When players got hurt – and that happened a lot this year – others stepped up and performed.

That doesn’t mean you’re going to play in the state tournament. But if you don’t have those types of team bonding elements, it guarantees you will not be playing in the tournament. So that’s why the Lady Dragons won a single-season school-record 30 games (they went 30-3), won the District 4-5A championship and rallied from a 1-0 deficit in the Region I final against Flower Mound Marcus and won 4-1.

The comparisons between this team and the 2008 state championship team are interesting. This team probably had more scoring and more overall depth. The 2008 team had more depth at center midfield.

On Saturday, Carroll just ran into a better team in Plano West. There’s no shame in that. Sometimes, you just have to tip to the other guy or gal and say, “Well done.” It doesn’t feel good, but that’s the way it is.

All the work that started with practices starting after Thanksgiving and running through the cold winter months had a purpose. Carroll returned home to Northeast Tarrant County on Saturday night disappointed, but not regretful.

Sunday afternoon finally gave Colvin the chance to watch his 6-year-old son Brody play an indoor soccer game. The little guy scored twice.

“I looked at my wife and said, ‘That’s as big a smile I’ve seen on him,”’ Colvin said.

That’s where the real wins are recorded.

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