Lady Dragons staying disciplined as district nears

Posted Monday, Sep. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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As Carroll volleyball’s consecutive match winning streak stood at 20 going into Tuesday’s final non-district match against Richardson Pearce, head coach Arthur Stanfield started to look at the big picture.

The District 4-5A season begins Friday against Keller Fossil Ridge. Without question, the Lady Dragons (27-1) are the overwhelming district favorites. Ranked No. 2 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association poll, Carroll’s only loss is to No. 1 The Woodlands.

Depth is to the point where this group not only has the ability to go 14-0 but it also could win 42 of a possible 42 games. Keep in mind that high school volleyball matches are a best 3-out-of-5. Do the math with 14 matches, and the Lady Dragons may not lose a game.

The best challenge could come from Keller Central, while Keller, Justin Northwest and Richland have traditionally fielded pretty solid teams.

“We’re going to have normal rotations through the first two games,” Stanfield said. “If we win them both and we have a good feel for the match, then I would play my underclassmen in that third game to get them enough experience on the floor.

“Now, if we’re playing Keller Central and we’re having a tough time in the first two games, I would keep my starting rotation the same.”

Stanfield has plenty of talented underclassmen on this roster. That third game could consist of the likes of junior middle blocker Kelsey Walter, sophomore middle blocker Elizabeth Augustini, junior setter McKenzie Brewer and junior outside hitter Paige Panter. Stanfield wasn’t bashful when he thought this second group could be a playoff contender.

However, he’s not letting this group relax. He wants to put pressure on it every day in practice because adversity always remains a part of this game. It’s going to be a matter of his team reacting to certain situations.

“We’ll pick some kids and force them to serve five consecutive times to a zone, or else we run,” he said. “Or we’re going to put front line against front line. So there are some things we’re doing to make sure they understand what’s important.

“We want 14-0 and 42-0, but the goal is to keep playing at a higher level.”

There are reminders of what happened in 2011, when this squad ran through the season with one loss, entered the playoffs and then was stunned by Grapevine in the area round.

Injury front

Speaking of Augustini and her sprained ankle, Stanfield said she is practicing at 70 percent and is close to returning.

Augustini suffered the injury in the Pearland tournament and hasn’t returned since. However, Stanfield is hoping she will be ready for the 4-5A opener against Keller Fossil Ridge on Friday.

Senior outside hitter Katie Martin has completely recovered from her ankle injury.

“She’s doing a really good job for us,” he said. “It’s great to have her back.”

Break over

After the Plano East match, Stanfield also kept this team focused by practicing them Wednesday through Saturday. There were also plenty of film sessions. Wednesday and Friday were the hard-work days.

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