To beat Coppell, a team has to play at an exceptional level. The Carroll girls soccer team saw that twice during the 2015 regular season. In District 7-6A play, the Lady Dragons and Cowgirls finished in a scoreless tie in the first meeting. Coppell won the second, 2-1.
In the third Saturday in the Class 6A Region I championship at Grande Communication’s Stadium in Midland, the Lady Dragons were far from that. Coppell jumped out early and then put the game away in the second half to advance to the state tournament in Georgetown, 3-0. Carroll closed its season at 23-3-2.
“It was just a couple of things,” Carroll coach Matt Colvin said. “I don’t think we played our best game. Coppell was just really good. They were very fast, very powerful and put lots of pressure on us. When you play against a team like that and don’t have your ‘A’ game, you’re going to find yourself behind.”
Coppell continued to mount the attack and scored its first goal off a corner kick. Carroll had been going against the wind in the first half and trailed only 1-0 at halftime. Coppell nearly allowed the equalizer on an own goal but avoided the catastrophic mistake with a save at the goal line. Truthfully, Colvin said he and his team felt pretty good about where it was for the second half.
But it didn’t go their way. The Cowgirls scored twice and Carroll had only one real quality scoring chance. This was the second consecutive year Carroll’s season ended in the regional finals. Hebron defeated Carroll in 2014.
“They don’t make any mistakes on defense,” Colvin said of Coppell. “They’re organized and their keeper is solid. When you are down 1-0, you can still play your game. But when you’re down 2-0, we had to push more numbers forward. That’s something we don’t want to do. But we didn’t have any choice.”
Obviously, Carroll’s rivalry with Coppell goes back for four decades, with many tight contests in many sports. So it would hard to acknowledge that there’s going to be a lot of support coming from Northeast Tarrant County toward their district mates. That’s just the way the rivalries are. District pride is likely overrated.
However, Colvin and Coppell coach Chris Stricker are pretty good friends.
“Chris is a great coach and has done a great job with that team,” Colvin said. “That’s going to be a great tournament.”
Coppell (26-0-3) meets San Antonio Reagan (21-3-3) in the first 6A semifinal at 9:30 a.m. Friday. Highland Park (22-0-4) faces Katy Cinco Ranch (22-0-4) at noon. The finals are at 4 p.m. Saturday.
No drop off
This group of seniors will walk away with 101 wins and knowing that keeper Jamie Phelps set the school record for career saves with 40.
Carroll did find some answers in the back line. But Colvin will need to find Phelps’ successor. There’s plenty of offense returning between Grace Cory, Danielle Dennis, Allie Luna and Mary Meehan.
“There’s a lot to look forward to with this group,” Colvin said. “And I think we’re going to be ready to compete again.”