Carroll girls seek a lengthy soccer playoff run

Posted Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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No UIL Class 5A soccer playoff preview would be complete without mentioning the Southlake Carroll girls. The Dragons were runners-up last season to state champion Plano West, and navigated this year’s schedule with a lone loss and one draw to go with 19 wins.

“The ones that experienced last year, there’s not a lot of external motivation needed,” coach Matt Colvin said.

Carroll is led by sophomore Grace Cory, who was part of the Dragons’ run last year as a freshman, and this year has 21 goals and 14 assists.

Aside from perennial contender Southlake Carroll, here are a few other local 5A teams to watch for this postseason:

Keller girls

The Indians (18-4-4) are responsible for Carroll’s only loss this season, and Keller seems to have really found its stride after a sluggish start to the season. The team won only once in its first seven games, scoring one goal in that span. But this young, talented team grew up quickly and has won eight consecutive games to streak into the postseason.

Player to watch: Ryan Stickney, F. Following in the footsteps of her sister as a leader for the Indians. She had 12 goals in District 4-5A play this year.

Mansfield girls

Despite a 21-1-1 record, the Tigers are the second seed from District 7-5A after suffering their lone loss to co-district champion Midlothian and losing the tiebreaker on goal differential. But the bigger story than Mansfield’s record might be that they achieved it with several notable injuries that forced the Tigers to shuffle personnel all season.

That translates to a team capable of facing the adversity of the postseason. Scoring threat Sidney LeRoy (20 goals, 10 assists) remains questionable from injury, so Mansfield might need to keep shuffling players to advance.

Player to watch: M McKayla Paulson. There really isn’t a position to define Paulson. She has played all over the field for Mansfield this season. The Texas A&M commit is a solid leader and the backbone of this senior-laden team.

Richland boys

The Rebels graduated the 2013 District 4-5A MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and their goalkeeper from last year, so this year’s District 4-5A title was a surprise.

“We’ve kind of flown under the radar.” coach Matt Snow said. “There hasn’t been any talk at all about us.”

After falling short of expectations last season, this group (17-3-4) is hoping to play the role of Cinderella this year.

The Rebels’ defense has been a strong point, having allowed only 13 goals in 14 district matches.

Player to watch: F Cristian Cuadra. A tireless worker who seems to be everywhere on the field; scored 12 goals and added 12 assists in district.

Arlington boys

The Colts are hoping to surpass last year’s postseason result, which saw them exit in the bi-district round. Arlington (16-4-2) has some momentum, having won six straight and eight of its past nine games to finish second in District 3-5A behind Martin. Coach Jeff Waldrop feels his team has tightened up defensively. He is backed up by the team’s three shutouts in its past five matches. “That’s a big reason why you see teams make runs,” Waldrop said. “The goals will come, but if we don’t play good defense it’s going to be a short trip.”

Player to watch: F Reggie Gonzalez. Set the school’s all-time goal-scoring mark earlier this season. Has more than 50 goals in his career, including 16 this year.

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