May 24, 2016 04:38PM ● Published by Tyler Hicks
By EJ Holland
It was another successful season for Southlake Carroll’s soccer programs.
Both the boys and girls made waves during the regular season and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs before bowing out valiantly against tough opponents.
Head coaches Matt Colvin (girls) and Greg Oglesby (boys) have built state powerhouses expected to make deep postseason runs year in and year out. And the two said they were extremely proud of their teams this season.
While their chase for state titles might have been stopped sooner than expected, the two squads exemplified Dragon pride throughout the year.
On the girls side, the 2015-16 season will be remembered for its record-shattering performances both from a team and individual standpoint. Southlake Carroll finished the year 23-2 and dominated for the majority of the season.
“We had quite a bit of success throughout the season,” Colvin says. “We broke many team records and individual records. Unfortunately, we fell short in a shootout in our last game. But overall, it was a great year for us.”
After reaching the state final two years ago and advancing to the regional final last season, expectations were, as always, sky high for the Dragons. And Colvin admitted that he thought this team had the potential to win it all.
“We had a senior class that had a taste of success,” he says. “Their goal was to not only make it to the state tournament but come away winning. All we can ask as coaches is that they are committed. We had a young team so our goal was to make sure our seniors made sure our young players were all in.”
The team certainly bought in early on.
Southlake Carroll made a statement to open the season as it took home top honors at the National Elite Prep Showcase with wins over Tyler Lee, Bishop Lynch, Monteverde Academy (Florida) and Santa Margarita (California).
The Dragons won all four games by a combined score of 16-0. They played flawless soccer and proved themselves against the country’s best—Santa Margarita was nationally ranked and Montverde Academy was named national champion in 2015.
The Dragon onslaught continued in the Allison Horn Tournament as it took down Keller Central, Denton Guyer and Arlington Martin—by a combined score of 15-2— before suffering its first loss of the season to Keller in the championship game.
The Dragons would not lose another game until the playoffs. They wrapped up their non-district schedule by winning the Governor’s Cup after taking down Round Rock, Humble Atascocita and Katy Taylor by an average score of 3-1.
Overall, Southlake Carroll finished its non-district slate with a 10-1 record and outscored its opponents by an average score of 4-0.
“We tried our best to play a difficult schedule,” Colvin says. “We played some really difficult opponents. We even played a team out of California. We also played the defending national champions out of Florida. We wanted to test ourselves and see how we were going to fare against tough opponents.
“I think we realized early in the season that we had a group that could do some really special things.”
As hard as it is to imagine, Southlake Carroll grew stronger during district play and ran through 7-6A with an undefeated record—something not even the great teams of the last two years were able to accomplish.
The Dragons scored an eye-popping 88 goals during district play—an average of seven per game—while allowing just five goals total.
“I think it gets overlooked in our community at times,” Colvin says. “It’s kind of expected. But there are hundreds of teams in our region vying for district championships. We were one of not many that were able to win one. And to go undefeated in the district is an even bigger achievement.”
Southlake Carroll played perhaps its best game of the season as it took down South Grand Prairie, 10-0, in the first round of the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Dragons, their season came to an end in heartbreaking fashion the following week to Flower Mound Marcus.
After allowing a goal four minutes into the game, the Dragons battled back to take a 2-1 lead. But Southlake Carroll gave up a goal with nine minutes remaining and ultimately lost on penalty kicks.
Still, enough can’t be said about the Dragons and their special year. Ally Griffin set a school record with 49 goals scored, while Allie Luna set the program record for assists in a season with 39. Grace Cory became the all-time leader in Dragon history with 221 points and tied the school record for most game-winning goals with 26.
The Dragons also featured one of the state’s biggest breakout players in freshman goalkeeper Madison Martin, who recorded 15 shutouts, which ranked fifth all-time in a season.
“We were able to throw a lot of numbers going forward into the attack,” Colvin says. “We had multiple options. Our frontrunners were really dynamic. We had experience in the midfield. We were able to put pressure on teams and defend them all.”
The boys’ route to the second round of the playoffs was a bit more of a bumpy ride.
Southlake Carroll was inconsistent out of the gate due to youth and inexperience, shuffled through five different goalkeepers and endured some tough losses and ties but found a way to finish with a 16-5-4 record and reach the postseason.
“The team got stronger and better as the season went on,” Oglesby says. “I thought we had an impressive ending to the season. Our goal is always to win a district championship and get to the regional tournament, but we knew we had a very young team and inexperience at goal.”
The Dragons opened the season with a loss to Arlington Martin but won its next three games. After recording ties in three of its following four games, Southlake Carroll closed out its non-district slate with three wins in a row.
But the streak didn’t last. Southlake Carroll fell to Coppell in the district opener, 6-0. After going 3-2-1 over its next half dozen games, a spark came on as the Dragons won six games in a row, including a 2-0 win over Midlothian in the first round of the playoffs.
During that span, the Dragons were led by the electric duo of Calvin Heard and Nat Kajiwara. The two combined for 39 goals on the season and helped the Dragons outscore their opponents, 23-7, during the run.
“It’s a testament to the kids because they kept working and they kept training,” Oglesby says. “They started to comprehend what we wanted done. They just started to play better as a team. We got to a point where I felt like we were really dangerous offensively. I thought we had significant improvement from last year.”
Southlake Carroll’s season came to an end the next week in a gut-wrenching 2-1 loss to Plano East in the second round of the playoffs.
“Last year, we lost on penalty kicks,” Oglesby says. “This year, we had 18 shots on goal, and we outplayed them. I couldn’t ask the kids to do more than they did. We just need to work hard and get a better bounce of the ball next season.”
With a number of key starters coming back for both the boys and girls soccer teams, the Dragons should be a force to reckon with on the pitch next year.