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Boys soccer: Dragons seeking shutout record
Carroll's boys soccer team got out to the start it has become accustomed to the past two weeks, racking up a 5-1-1 record, including a first-place finish at the Richland Winter Blast Tournament and a consolation title last weekend in Duncanville.
The squad has earned decisions over Temple (2-0), Jesuit (2-0), North Side (1-0), Allen (3-0) and McKinney Boyd (1-0 in a shootout). The team played Euless Trinity to a scoreless draw and suffered its lone defeat against Irving (1-0).
The Dragons are currently ranked No. 16 in the nation and sixth in the state by the Elite Soccer Report as they continue to prepare for their District 4-5A opener Jan. 29 against Keller Central.
Carroll also features an experienced team, including multiple players that have state championship experience from the 2011 title-winning squad.
"We've gotten off to a really good start," said Greg Oglesby, Carroll head coach. "We've played some quality teams and so far our defense has been phenomenal. We've only allowed one goal."
That defense figures to be a strength throughout the year and has set a goal of breaking the program record for shutouts in a season (22 in 2011). So far, the Dragons have already recorded five shutouts in six matches.
"It's a lofty goal," Oglesby said. "But that's fine with me if that's what they want to shoot for."
The Dragons bring back three of their four defenders from last year as well as junior goalie Turner Roberts.
"Turner is very experienced," Oglesby said. "He's tactically astute and is very aware. He has a great command in the box."
Defenders include senior Tanner Brennan, senior Paul Miltenberger, senior Brad Rostron and senior Michael Friedman, who is in his first season in the back.
"Michael has been transitioning well," Oglesby said. "Our defense has been playing very well and we're getting there in regards of the chemistry and cohesion."
Experience is abundant in the midfield as well where senior captain Tommy Price and senior Winslow Horne return. Rounding out the position are senior Jack Fuller and junior Walker Beasley.
"[Senior] Ned van Nilman has given us good minutes off the bench as well," Oglesby said. "Our midfielders can score a few goals each, but we also look to them to possess the ball and set up the offense. They're working hard, they just haven't been quite as productive as we would like."
The Dragons feature juniors Jack Parrish and Sam Carpenter at forward. Senior Karl Keyser will also work his way into the mix.
"The forwards are all new to us so it's going to take a little time," Oglesby said. "We need some more work in the final third, but we're getting a lot of chances. We just need to score more and I think that will come. They're working really hard and are improving."
The Dragons have also been solid with their set pieces so far.
As usual, Carroll's goals start with qualifying for the playoffs.
"That's obviously first," Oglesby said. "We'd love to win a state title but it starts with making the playoffs. We've also set some specific goals for the season, such as averaging two goals per game and setting the shutout record."
The Dragons will shoot for a title in 4-5A against the likes of Keller, Keller Fossil Ridge, Keller Timber Creek, Keller Central, Richland, Haltom and Justin Northwest.
"It should be very competitive," Oglesby said. "There are a bunch of solid teams and it's looking like it could be a six-team race for the four playoff spots."
The Dragons continue their non-district slate Thursday-Sunday at the Round Rock Tournament where they will have four matches.
"We'll get in a good amount of games and will get to play some teams we don't usually get to play against," Oglesby said. "We'll get a good gauge of teams we could potentially face in the playoffs and it's always nice to get out of town and get focused. It's a great chance to get stronger and tighter as a team."