Sometimes, you just get beat. Teams can dissect missed chances and think what could have been. But in the final analysis, Carroll girls coach Matt Colvin didn’t think that was the case in Friday’s 1-0 loss to Keller.
A goal early in the second half proved to be the difference and Carroll’s offense pretty much got shut down. That broke up the Lady Dragons’ (16-1-1, 10-1 in District 4-5A) undefeated season. However, the goals remain the same: win the district championship and make a deep run the postseason to return to the Class 5A state tournament in Georgetown.
“We didn’t walk away thinking we should have won that game,” Colvin said. “Keller beat us in every fashion. They put us on our heels. We are very fast and athletic. But they took that part of the game away from us. They were faster and stronger to the ball than we were.”
Colvin said Keller did a very good job defensively in the midfield area and gave his team problems trying to set up runners toward the net. The Lady Indians always had enough numbers around the ball. Colvin credited their athleticism in the back end for also negating scoring opportunities.
The game had a similar feel to the first meeting on Feb. 12, a 1-0 Carroll victory. Grace Cory’s goal proved to be the difference that time.
Although the teams have split and are running first and second in the district (Carroll with 30 points, Keller with 28), the Lady Dragons would have to blink in the final three games in order to surrender the outright district championship.
Carroll’s final games were Keller Central on Monday after the press deadline, Keller Fossil Ridge on March 18 (the first game after spring break) and March 21 against Haltom. Keller’s final three includes Keller Timber Creek, a team that tied the Lady Indians, 0-0, and is running a strong third.
“We don’t look at the result as much as we do our performance,” Colvin said. “It was subpar, but give Keller credit. We allowed Keller to take it to us.”
No sophomore slump
Cory emerged as a bona fide scoring threat in 2013 during Carroll’s run to the Class 5A state championship game. She finished with 17 goals as a freshman.
Sometimes, sophomores will endure the dreaded “sophomore slump” because teams know who they are and key on them. They are slow to make the adjustment. With Cory, that’s not the case.
Not only has she avoided the slump, she has emerged as this team’s leading scorer. She has scored a team-high 19 goals. The goals don’t tell the story as much as how much Cory’s game has matured.
“Grace really benefited last year by playing with Sophie [Groff],” Colvin said. “She was able to learn a lot and see how Sophie prepared mentally for games. Grace could just absorb all that. There’s a lot of attention being paid to her. And that hasn’t affected her at all. I’ve been very impressed. She’s surpassed what I expected.”
Senior night special
Carroll’ senior night will be Tuesday (March 18) against Keller Fossil Ridge. It’s also community night. All those who are eighth graders or younger can wear a soccer jersey to get into the game free.