Northeast Tarrant

Lady Dragons lift play to a new level

To call it “flipping the switch” might be the only way to describe how Carroll’s girls soccer team has transitioned its style from the regular season to the postseason.

Known as a squad that plays its best soccer in the second half, Carroll (21-1-1) has jumped on its bi-district (Arlington Lamar) and area (Odessa) playoff opponents with early goals that really took those teams out of their games.

Against Odessa last Friday in Abilene, the Lady Dragons scored within the first two minutes and cruised to a 4-0 victory. Remember, they scored in the first 17 seconds against Lamar. Carroll advanced to the Region I quarterfinals and met District 4-5A rival Keller Timber Creek on Tuesday at Justin Northwest. See for results.

Head coach Matt Colvin never minds when his team scores goals. But the manner in which this team does it is pretty impressive.

“There are several things going for us,” Colvin said. “One is preparation. Second, we’ve done a really good job of finding the other team’s weakness. Third, they have mentally prepared themselves to start quickly.

“When you play opponents for the first time, they may not know you 100 percent or your attack. We’ve been fortunate that we’ve caught these teams by surprise.”

Another element that probably comes into play here is that Carroll knows that it’s going to get every opponent’s best shot. The enthusiasm is probably at a high level. So if Carroll takes the early lead, it can impact their frame of mind.

Carroll’s youth continues to not act its age. All four goals against Odessa were scored by freshmen and sophomores: Alli Gardner, Grace Cory, Brittany Martin and Mary Meehan.

“They all understand the expectations and are playing to them,” Colvin said.

The interesting thing about Meehan is that she’s so proficient and comfortable moving and scoring with either foot, Colvin had to ask which was her dominant foot. It’s the right.

About Timber Creek/Region I tournament

The Lady Dragons swept the two 4-5A meetings with Timber Creek by scores of 1-0 and 3-0.

Carroll dominated play and really didn’t allow many scoring chances.

If Carroll moves on to the Region I tournament, the Lady Dragons would face either Flower Mound Marcus or Coppell in the semifinals. For now, the tournament is scheduled to be played in Midland.

However, there is some hope that with the boys and girls Region I tournaments headlined with Fort Worth-Dallas area teams, the tournament can be moved to the Birdville Fine Arts & Athletics Complex. That’s what happened in 2013. The goal would be to save all of those teams and districts some money.

More verbal Division I commitments

They have to wait a couple of years to sign their national letters of intent, but Cory and Gardner didn’t worry about that.

Gardner, a freshman, has committed to Arkansas. Cory, a sophomore, has committed to Alabama.

“Grace did it about 10 days ago,” Colvin said. “She did some unofficial visits to some schools and then narrowed it down. She liked the Alabama coaching staff and felt comfortable there. Alli just had a really good feel for Arkansas.”

Ironically, the SEC does not have an organized league for soccer.