The 2020 edition of Carroll Volleyball had a good mix of youth and experience, with five seniors, six juniors and five sophomores. Giving young athletes a chance to grow into varsity standouts has been a part of the program’s M.O. under coach Teresa Dunn.
That experience and exposure to varsity competition continued to pay off this past season.
Senior outside blocker Natalie Glenn served as the biggest spark plug for Carroll with 313 kills (4.2 per set), 30 serving aces and 501 serves received — all team highs. She also added 49 blocks (tied for second on the team). Senior middle blocker Laura Brambilla was a defensive beast at the net, registering a team-best 63 blocks and added 143 kills to boot.
Senior libero Keagan Polk registered 462 digs to keep the ball alive, added 19 aces and had 239 clean serve receives.
The trio will play at the next level, with Glenn (University of Minnesota), Brambilla (Washington University in St. Louis) and Polk (Baylor University) ready to apply their skills to college ball.
“There’s definitely going to be some big holes to fill,” Dunn says. “But these kids are kind of building off of that emotion of wanting to work hard every day.”
Lady Dragons Volleyball only played about half the games compared to the year before due to the pandemic, but they made the most of their opportunities. And with a district schedule featuring elite programs, many matchups felt like playoff battles.
Facing a high level of competition helped the Carroll team grow tough, as they fought to keep games alive throughout the season. Posting a 14-6 overall record, including an 8-4 run through District 4-6A, coach Teresa Dunn’s team proceeded to march three rounds deep into the postseason — one round further than the 2019 team advanced.
“Having learned a lot of hard life lessons last year, that really translated into better play this year,” Dunn says.
That mental toughness and all-in attitude became apparent to Dunn right from the season’s start. The Lady Dragons’ first opponent of 2020 was perennial power Plano West (18-4), and Carroll walked away with a convincing 3-1 win.
The competition didn’t slow down in district play. The Lady Dragons faced Region I finalist and district champs V.R. Eaton (18-3), as well as reigning 6A state champs Byron Nelson. Carroll split its district matches with Nelson, as the win was a first in recent years.
Fate would have it that Carroll met Nelson again in the postseason. After sweeping past Boswell and Wolfforth Frenship in the first two rounds, the Lady Dragons tangled with the Lady Bobcats in the Regional Quarterfinals, losing in five sets that came down to a 15-12 margin in the final set.