May 30, 2013 11:19AM ● Published by tina
The Lady Dragons set a school record with a 30-3 season and advanced to the State 5A Final against Plano West.
Dragon Sports by Rick Herrin
Carroll was overtaken by soccer fever this spring.
The Dragons and Lady Dragons each finished remarkable seasons, enjoying long playoff rides, memorable road trips and spectacular play-making. The two programs fed off each other, and the successful conclusion included a regional semifinalist and state finalist.
The Lady Dragons, led by coach Matt Colvin, found a special season with a unique unit. His team had star power, an abundance of college talent, budding youth and a foundation of tremendous leadership and chemistry.
“The 15 seniors displayed unbelievable leadership,” Colvin says. “Our team had very specific and measurable goals, and the seniors kept our team focused on those objectives. They had an all-in mentality.”
It almost ended with a state championship, but the Lady Dragons fell 4-1 in the Class 5A state championship to powerhouse Plano West. While painful, the loss can’t wipe away a school record-setting 30-3 season.
Led by South Carolina-bound scorer Sophie Groff, the Lady Dragons were nearly invincible. Those watching the Region I tournament witnessed the toughness and edge this team possessed defeating Hebron and Marcus. From Julia Dyche’s big plays and Meghan Murphy’s unstoppable headers to amazing defense by Alison Savage and Taylor Valentine and goalkeeper Tori Stephens’ regular shutouts, these Lady Dragons could do a little of everything.
Along the way, Groff became the program’s all-time leading scorer with an amazing 87 goals in four years.
“She has all the physical tools needed to be a great player,” Colvin says. “But it’s her competitive drive that sets her apart from other players. Over the last two years she has grown into a fantastic leader. Her teammates respect and listen to her because she truly cares about them.”
On the other side of the field, Stephens set the program’s all-time career shutout record and Savage, a senior, set a record by playing in more than 110 games with the Lady Dragons.
Meanwhile, the boys were making a deep playoff run in a much different manner. Coach Greg Oglesby’s Dragons were hampered by key injuries and untimely illnesses that swept through the team, but with great perseverance they battled back to win the district title.
“It was a great season,” Oglesby says. “We had tremendous chemistry, and they really played for each other. I think that helped us in the playoffs when we had to go to Midland twice.”
Without a dominant scorer, the Dragons relied on teamwork and multiple scoring threats that all came through when needed. Jack Parrish led the team with 10 goals, while six Dragons scored four or more on the season.
“You never knew where the goals were going to come from,” Oglesby says.
They had to do it in crunch time as well. Down 1-0 in the Region I quarterfinal to El Paso Montwood after allowing a goal with 1:42 left, the season appeared over. That was until Parrish, a junior midfielder, answered with 50 seconds left to force overtime and an eventual victory. Parrish also provided the game-winner in overtime.
“The kids fought, and it’s unbelievable the mindset they had,” Oglesby says. “They were never down on themselves, and they just kept fighting.”
Just like they did on the day the season ended. Marcus kept scoring, and the Dragons kept countering. Carroll fell 4-3, but a flurry in the last five minutes nearly forced overtime. Carroll, which went 21-5-4, was down 2-0 and 3-1 before rallying.
Tommy Price, a senior midfielder, led the team with seven assists and finished second in goals with seven.
“I had some kids step up and earn some minutes, and it was a real testament to those kids with a team-first attitude to do whatever was needed,” Oglesby says.
That’s what makes great seasons.
Photo Credit - Rex Teter Photography
Rick Herrin is the Carroll ISD Communications and Marketing Department's Video Webmaster. He also works closely with the athletic department covering events and managing sports news for the district. He is a long-time follower of Dragon athletics and formerly covered Carroll as a sports reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Grapevine Sun.