Carroll standout ready to strut for Gamecocks

Posted Monday, Jun. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Sophie Groff will soon trade her green SC logo wear for garnet SC togs.

Groff, the standout forward on the Carroll soccer team, is already preparing for her collegiate career at the University of South Carolina.

Following the disappointing state finals loss to Plano West, Groff has been training with her select soccer club, as well as already finishing up her orientation in Columbia, SC.

Playing now for the Dallas Texans select team, Groff is looking ahead to her days as a Gamecock, but still reflects fondly on her high school career as a member of the Lady Dragons.

“My senior year was one of my favorite years,” Groff said. “I had such close friends all going full-throttle and leaving nothing out there.

“I had a different mindset because it was my last year and I wanted to make the best of it with my friends,” Groff added.

She has plenty to reflect on.

Groff scored 27 goals and had 19 assists as a senior, but it was second to her junior year, when she broke the school record for most goals in a season, scoring 35.

Already looking forward to a different atmosphere in college, Groff said she’s especially drawn to South Carolina due to the coaching staff.

“Also, the state is beautiful, and there’s just something different there and the coaching staff and everyone associated is so family-oriented,” said Groff. “It just felt right. I’m looking forward to making a difference.

“I gave a verbal commitment in June before my junior year,” Groff said.

The SC staff has already given Groff their summer fitness program to follow, and she has been following the routine for a few weeks now.

Groff said the difference in the workouts is just that now players are more on the honor system over the course of the summer to perform the work.

“The other difference is that we’ve been doing the weight room, too,” she said. “In college, they expect the best out of you, so they’ll want the most out of you. I want to be the best I can be, and that’s cliché but it’s true and especially at South Carolina.”

When the season rolls around, Groff expects to continue in her forward position, but said she’ll be happy to play in any role.

“They haven’t brought it up,” Groff said of what position they see her playing. “But as long as they let me step on the field I’ll do whatever they ask me to do.”

The elementary education major is looking forward to being a part of the turnaround of the program that has seen greater success than their recent season.

The big rival is Clemson, and the chance to contend for an SEC Conference title is already on Groff’s mind.

Groff will join 10 other freshmen to help build the program.

As much as Groff is looking forward to moving on, she admits that the Carroll freshmen, sophomores and juniors are also ready for the talent-laden seniors to move on.

“They don’t tell us that, but probably, yes,” Groff joked. “The younger ones are ready for us to graduate and move on so they can play. The younger ones are ready to play and step up.”

Moving forward, Groff continues to look back.

“I had a blast with everyone I played with and the coaches,” Groff said. “We had success, but even if we didn’t, all the coaches had such a big impact on my career,” she said, including Dragons head coach Matt Colvin and her club team coach, Brian Higgonbotham.

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