Northeast Tarrant

Lady Dragons down Hebron to advance to regionals

Familiarity breeds a lot of things.

Of course, the completion of that adage is usually “contempt.” But that’s not really what it was about when the Southlake Carroll girls soccer team (19-1-2) met Lewisville Hebron on Monday in the Class 6A Region I quarterfinals in Argyle.

The two District 5-6A soccer rivals met with a berth to the Region I tournament in Midland at stake, and the Lady Dragons won 5-0 on the strength of goals by Ally Griffin, Alli Gradner, Alyssa Marciano and Taylor Tufts.

Carroll easily handled Belton, 5-1, in the area round this past Friday in Waco. Remember, the Lady Dragons were eliminated in the area round in 2016.

“The variable for us was that we traveled down to Waco,” Carroll coach Matt Colvin said. “We had two periods of class, bused down, stopped and stretched. It was a long day. You’re thinking this is something that’s out of our routine. But they were very focused in warm ups. They came out relaxed and ready.”

Carroll jumped out to a 4-0 lead at the intermission and put the match away with two of those late in the first stanza. Griffin had two goals and two assists. Sophomore forward Sydney Nobles also scored.

“We felt like Sydney’s matchup against the girl defending her was going to be to her advantage,” Colvin said. “She was able to take advantage and create some chances and come up with a great goal.”

Against Hebron

On its way to the 2017 district championship, Carroll swept the two meetings against the Lady Hawks via shutout. Carroll won 2-0 on Jan. 24 at Hebron and then wrapped up the regular season with a 3-0 victory on March 13 at Carroll.

Like Carroll, Hebron (10-7-4) had been impressive in its two playoff games. It defeated Plano in the bi-district round, 2-1, and then raced past Irving Nimitz in the area round, 7-1.

When they weren’t sharing the same district, Carroll and Hebron played some memorable playoff matchups. Carroll defeated Hebron in the area round in 2012 and the regional semifinals in 2013. Hebron got a measure of revenge when it won the 2014 Region I championship when it beat the Lady Dragons. But Carroll won the area playoff rematch in 2015.

“If it was an opponent that we had not seen, then we probably would have wanted the extra day to train,” Colvin said. “But we played them twice and scouted them. I’m sure there was nothing too sneaky either of us could do.”

With the victory, Carroll will play the winner of Wolfforth Frenship and El Paso Franklin on Friday.

All of the X factors

When Carroll played Belton on Friday, it was the Lady Dragons first game on a natural surface. The first 21 had been on field turf.

“I know a couple of players mentioned that they felt like the game was running slow,” Colvin said. “But they’ve also played about 25-30 games on grass during their club season.”

The dimensions of the field are always taken into account. While there is not a standard length and width, the minimums are about 50 feet in width and 110-120 feet in length. Carroll has typically played on fields that were about 65 feet in width with the same length. Dragon Stadium is at 68 feet.

“The only real difference with a wider field is that your [defenders] have more space to work with and have more time to make decisions,” Colvin said.