While most of Carroll’s district play had kind of a ho-hum feel to it, last week’s did not. A playoff atmosphere surfaced in both matches against Colleyville Heritage and arch-rival Coppell.
Head coach Ryan Mitchell could not have been more pleased. Against Colleyville Heritage, the Lady Dragons rallied from down 18-5 in Game 2 and won an epic set by the unusual score of 33-31. Carroll won the other two games, 25-20 and 25-18.
The match against Coppell lived up to the billing as Carroll won in four sets, 26-24, 25-5, 20-25 and 29-27. The back-and-forth of momentum swept through the match as evidenced by the scores. Haley Hallgren came up with two pretty important kills that helped Carroll pull out the fourth set.
“There was a point in the middle of the fourth set when a timeout was called and I really didn’t need to say anything,” Mitchell said. “But I said, ‘look, look this is preparing us for what we can expect when we get to the playoffs. We’re going to be forced to be in these situations. It’s pretty normal for the playoffs. But it was a great time to involved in something like that.’”
Carroll (34-3, 6-0 in District 7-6A) ended the first half of the district season with a one-game lead as the second half began this week. The Lady Dragons played at Hurst L.D. Bell on Tuesday and then play host to Richland on Friday.
Playing with 10
Mitchell has settled on a rotation of nine players. Two of those are junior defensive specialist Claire Payne and senior libero Brayden Gruenewald. They go along with junior libero Alli Bliss and Sydney Hindes.
Their defense has been very important when Mitchell has made substitutions for the back row.
“We have four really capable defenders and you can never have enough defense,” Mitchell said. “Sometimes, you’re in a situation where you ride the hot hand. It seems to have worked out, because we have some depth and there are some options. And we don’t experience a drop off.”
Carroll continues to have strong play from its middle blockers. The combination of sophomore Asjia O’Neal and senior Elizabeth Augustini had a hitting night that’s usually never seen. Against Colleyville Heritage, they hit an unthinkable .720. O’Neal had a streak of three consecutive kills … Mitchell hasn’t deviated from his plan of rotating between his 6-2 (rotating two setters) and 5-1 (staying with one setter) alignments. He said he likes the consistency he has seen from both. Plus, junior Sheridan Webb can be an option at the net if need be …. Carroll can wrap up a playoff berth as early as this week. As the second half begins, Coppell is in second place at 5-1. Colleyville Heritage is in third at 4-2. Euless Trinity is in fourth at 3-3. L.D. Bell is in fifth at 2-4. Richland is in sixth at 1-5. Haltom is in seventh at 0-6.