It’s not that Carroll’s volleyball program flipped the switch and suddenly became a team that dominated its last three opponents.
Coach Ryan Mitchell prefers to think of it as his team playing to its potential. The Lady Dragons (43-3) used the energy from the five-game win over Coppell in the regular season finale to sweep their way through Waco Midway in the warmup match and then Mansfield and McKinney Boyd in the bi-district and area playoff rounds. He called the 25-23, 25-13, 25-21 victory over Boyd one of the cleanest performances his team has had all season.
“Our resolve was tested against Coppell,” Mitchell said. “But I think that really woke us up. We’ve played really well in the playoffs. Honestly, we’re playing well at the right time.”
Carroll met Denton Guyer in the Class 6A Region I quarterfinals at Lewisville High School on Tuesday night. The winner advanced to the Region I tournament Friday in Glen Rose where it would meet the winner of Amarillo-El Paso Coronado in the semifinals.
The game was played after the press deadline; see www.dfwvarsity.com for results.
“Potential for every kid is different,” Mitchell said. “They just have to be good on their decisions. They make plays when they have to make them and bounce back quickly from mistakes and get side outs.”
But this is when a team needs to eliminate the individual accomplishments and focus on getting to the state tournament. Mitchell isn’t talking about stats with any particular part of his team and nor is he singling out anyone.
“This team has found itself and playing at a higher level than it has in a long long time,” Mitchell said. “The only thing the kids are concerned about is winning the next game. That’s exactly what we need to have.”
Is it about style points?
Carroll’s matchup with Denton Guyer featured teams reaching this point from two different perspectives. Carroll owned the floor with its two opponents. Guyer had to survive five games to beat Plano in the bi-district round and Coppell in the area round.
“Obviously, it’s matter of your perspective,” Mitchell said. “There’s the thinking that all you have to do is survive and keep playing. But there’s also the thinking that you want to dominate your opponent in three games. You want your team to be playing its best.”
With 43 wins, Carroll’s reputation may precede itself. However, Mitchell knows that teams are aware the Lady Dragons have struggled and lost to the two teams – Amarillo and Colleyville Heritage – which are still playing in the postseason.
“Any school will see your record and know it’s impressive,” Mitchell said. “But they also know you’re not invincible either. I don’t think we give off that vibe. But that’s really not the idea at this time of year.”
The better district
District 6-6A was thought to have the better overall district in Region I because of the likes of Hebron, Flower Mound, McKinney Boyd and Plano. But District 7-6A showed its strength when matching up against those teams. Carroll beat Boyd and Colleyville Heritage won at Flower Mound before playing Hebron Tuesday.
“It’s really a shame that these districts had to meet so early,” Mitchell said. “But that’s why this region is really tough.”