The best way to get a fan base behind you is to win every match. New Carroll volleyball coach Ryan Mitchell has built a lot of equity with the community with a perfect start.
For the first time in Carroll history, the Lady Dragons won the Texas Invitational Tournament in Pearland last week. The top seed in the tournament, Carroll defeated Highland Park, Lewisville Hebron, District 7-6A rival Coppell, Dallas Bishop Lynch and then San Antonio O’Connor in the championship. Carroll also received several honors. Junior outside hitter Megan Porter earned was named tournament MVP, senior outside hitter Madison Drescher earned outstanding hitter, and sophomore right side/setter Haley Hallgren and senior setter McKenzie Brewer also made the all-tournament team.
“You couldn’t ask for a better start,” Mitchell said. “Winning that tournament reiterates what you are trying to do and gets the train rolling for what we want to accomplish.”
Carroll was ranked No. 2 in the Lone Star Volleyball Class 6A poll and surely was going to move to the top spot when the new rankings were released this week. Of course, rankings aren’t what this program is searching for. Winning a state championship is all that matters.
Carroll continued its season Tuesday against Plano and plays in the Northwest ISD tournament Thursday-Saturday.
Senior Madison Drescher made the move in the spring from middle blocker to outside hitter. For a week, Mitchell got to see her perform when it counts. And it turned out to be quite a debut. In the eight matches in Pearland, Drescher led the team in kills in five of them and averaged eight kills per match.
Drescher, who moved from middle blocker, last played the position when she was 14 on her club team when she was also playing for Mitchell. While she is familiar there, it still is an adjustment.
“It is a big deal because she hasn’t played the position at this level,” Mitchell said. “There are quite a few changes. But she’s just going to have to work on serve receive and other areas if we expect to continue to be playing in November [at the state tournament in Garland]. Offensively, you couldn’t ask for a better start for her. She has a strong shot and just understands what she’s doing.”
Senior outside hitter Paige Panter played Saturday in Pearland with a broken right toe. The injury appeared to happen before Carroll’s season began. Panter did not play Monday and Tuesday and Friday.
However, she managed to tough it out through five matches. Mitchell wasn’t sure if she would play against Plano, but expects her to play this weekend.
“It’s one of those of those things where you just have to watch it and see how the toe responds after playing on it all day,” Mitchell said. “There’s really nothing you can do. But we don’t have to rush anything.”
The Carroll-Coppell rivalry spawns decades. While the two schools have shared the same district in the past, they were reunited after a long time apart by the UIL on Feb. 3. The two squads got a glimpse of each other Saturday in Pearland. Carroll won a tight three-set match.
“Beyond the rivalry, it’s two great programs battling,” Mitchell said. “The matched really was intense. When one team started to pull away, the other came back.”