Penalty kicks seem to be such a cruel way to decide a soccer game. It feels worse when they decide a postseason game.
In many cases, luck has to overtake skill. There is no in between. Sometimes, the better team loses because its keeper didn’t make enough stops.
But that’s the fate that potentially awaits. Unfortunately for the Carroll girls soccer team, the Lady Dragons didn’t get enough stops in this past Friday’s Class 6A Region I area playoff game against Flower Mound Marcus.
The nation’s No. 2 team lost on penalty kicks, 4-3, to fall 3-2 at Coppell’s Buddy Echols Field. Carroll closed the season at 23-2. This is the earliest Carroll has been eliminated in the postseason since the 2011 team lost in the area round.
Ironically, it was a one-person show for the Lady Marauders (14-4-2) who won it and sent them on to the Region I quarterfinals against District 6-6A rival Plano. Keeper Peyton Bauman scored on the final attempt of the penalty kick phase. She then denied Carroll’s final kick to preserve the victory.
All of the energy Carroll poured into a season that had nothing on its mind but getting to Georgetown in two weeks was acceptable. That’s the why offseason will take a little longer to endure.
The concerns Carroll head coach Matt Colvin expressed about the postseason proved to be the case. He mentioned that special teams can sometimes decide a match even though one team might be playing better than the other.
Marcus scored its two goals because of corner kicks, both by Olivia Kovach. In fact, Kovach scored the game-tying goal in the latter stages of the second half to send the game into overtime.
Carroll recovered from a 1-0 halftime deficit when Ally Griffin tied it early in the second half with her single-season school-record 49th. The Lady Dragons had taken a 2-1 lead when freshman Kendall Gilipin scored.
However, the Lady Dragons couldn’t find that extra push to take control of the game. Marcus’ defense gave it a chance.
Now, Carroll and Marcus will be re-united as district opponents in 2016 and 2017 in the new 5-6A following the UIL’s realignment. The two schools shared the same district in the early 2000s.
Like many coaches in the area suggested, just because 2013 state champion Plano West and 2014 state champion Lewisville Hebron didn’t qualify for the postseason, it didn’t mean that district was experiencing any kind of down cycle. It just spoke to the depth in which only four of the nine teams could advance to the postseason.
Indeed, all four 6-6A teams – Marcus, Plano, Allen and Flower Mound – are all still playing.
Looking ahead to 2017
Carroll will lose 10 seniors from this District 7-6A championship team. The notable losses are midfielder Allie Luna, forward Mary Meehan, defender Grace Dunker and midfielder Grace Cory. Those players helped put together the most prolific scoring team in school history with 143 goals. Luna scored the record breaker in the 10-0 bi-district playoff win over South Grand Prairie.
But there is a great core of players returning led by Griffin, keeper Madison Martin and midfielder Alli Gardner.