Northeast Tarrant

Carroll girls soccer faces South Grand Prairie after long break

Carroll's Allisyn Gardner (28) and the Lady Dragons face South Grand Prairie in bi-district on Thursday.
Carroll's Allisyn Gardner (28) and the Lady Dragons face South Grand Prairie in bi-district on Thursday. Special to the Star-Telegram

A long layoff can either be a good or bad thing. It just depends on how a team handles it.

It will be 13 days from Carroll’s last regular season game to Thursday’s 6 p.m. Class 6A Region I bi-district playoff matchup against South Grand Prairie at Nolan Catholic High School.

Girls soccer head coach Matt Colvin searched all over Texas to find a warmup game opponent for the early part of this week. However, there were no takers. Either district races had not concluded, or potential opponents had games secured.

So Colvin decided to do something he’s never done. His team scrimmaged a mixture of freshmen and junior varsity players on Monday. But there was one key that made this doable. Colvin has worked with these teams two times a week during the season.

It’s not uncommon for a girls basketball team to scrimmage or work out with ninth grade or junior varsity boys teams. However, the soccer part is somewhat uncommon.

“It’s an unknown situation for us to be sure,” Colvin said. “Is it the better idea and it is better than a warmup? I guess we’ll find out. But what I hope what we were going to see was a good speed of play that will get us prepared for what we’ll see in the postseason.”

As polished and experienced as this team is, coaches never want them to lose their edge. It’s probably a fair point that Carroll probably won’t be out of its rhythm. However, Colvin does not want to take any chances.

“Having the time off, you just hope that your team is going is going to stay with the way it has been playing,” Colvin said. “We trained late last week, so we’re doing everything we can to make sure we’re ready.”

The winner advances to the area round where it would meet the winner of Keller Timber Creek and the No. 2 seed from District 6-6A. That district finished play on Monday with three playoff positions still undecided.

About South Grand Prairie

The Carroll coaching staff didn’t know much about the Lady Warriors until they saw them defeat Cedar Hill in a game that decided District 8-6A’s final playoff berth on March 15.

“The thing we learned is that they are very dangerous on their set pieces,” Colvin said. “The most important thing you can do is be strong defensively and be very effective on picking up on the little things. We’re going to have to look at decoys or see if they do anything that would cause deception.”

Yet there have been playoff runs that have existed because of those plays. Colvin recalled during the state championship run in 2008 the Lady Dragons used a set play to defeat Grapevine in the then-Class 5A Region I quarterfinals, 1-0.

“Defensively, you can face a team that controls the game throughout and has chance after chance,” he said. “But if you execute a free kick or a corner or something else, that’s all you need. You just have to be really disciplined in how you play them on your end when you’re using them and how you have to react to them.”