UPDATE: Carroll will face off against Allen at 7 p.m. Friday at Flower Mound Marcus in the Class 6A Region 1 area playoffs.
The subplots to Carroll’s pursuit of an outright District 7-6A championship could not have been juicier.
First, Carroll (39-3, 11-0) played archrival Coppell in the regular season finale on Tuesday. Second, Coppell (32-9) is in second place at 10-1. Third, the match is at Carroll after the two teams played an epic four-game match at Coppell on Oct. 2. Two of the four games needed extra points. Fourth, Carroll is going for another 40-win season. Carroll clinched a share of the district title when it swept Colleyville Heritage this past Friday.
“We really like the way it sets up,” Carroll head coach Ryan Mitchell said. “It’s a tough match. It means something. The girls have something to lock into. It’s a playoff-ready type of match for us. The intensity is going to be excellent.”
Regardless of the outcome, it was going to be the last time these teams met in the regular season. Mitchell said he and Coppell coach Julie Green have already decided there won’t be a match scheduled should the teams share the district championship. They will flip a coin.
Of course, Carroll is hoping none of that will mean anything. The teams have already met twice. They met each other in the Allen tournament in August. Carroll won.
While Carroll was heavily favored against Colleyville Heritage, it was the way the Lady Dragons went about things in order to sweep the match.
“The biggest thing we have appeared to improve upon are areas where we struggled,” Mitchell said. “We had a hard time with our serve receive game. One of their players had five aces against us. This time, she didn’t have any.”
Had Carroll wrapped up the outright championship, it appears it would meet DeSoto in the Class 6A Region I bi-district round. DeSoto has locked up the fourth seed in District 8-6A. If not, there’s a jumble between Mansfield, Midlothian and South Grand Prairie for the top three spots.
Warm up with Dripping Springs
It’s been in the works for about two weeks, but it’s only now that Carroll was willing to release it. The Lady Dragons will play a warm-up match against Class 5A state power Dripping Springs (43-2) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Waco Midway High School.
“You’re just looking for a quality match, and we definitely have that with Dripping Springs,” Mitchell said. “They have a really talented team with players committed to Ole Miss, TCU and Texas. So this is going to help us as we go through the playoffs.”
It’s always the quiet ones
Junior outside hitter Haley Hallgren continues to move through another solid season with the Lady Dragons.
Hallgren, who recently committed to USC’s beach volleyball program, has put together a very consistent season. Through Carroll’s first 41 matches, she led the team with 274 kills and been very reliable with the serve receive game. She also leads the team with 324 successful receives. That’s 67 more than the next Carroll player.
“Haley gets overlooked, but she’s the rock of the team,” Mitchell said. “She’s so consistent and plays every part of the game well. She passes for six rotations. She’s an aggressive player and can impact the game. Haley doesn’t let a lot of things bother her. A dominant presence.”