The Bishop Carroll girls soccer team was going to start a little sharper than most, returning eight of its starters from last year.
Carroll (3-0) looks to continue its good start when it plays Garden City at 7 tonight in the final of the Goddard Invitational.
Led by a strong junior group, Carroll coach John Barber knew he had the right leadership in place. Rachel Roth and Teresa Offerman lead the Eagles, as well as Rachel Wiesen, Mallory Walden and senior Megan Walden.
"The fact that they've played since they were freshmen isn't too bad, and (Tuesday night) was their 40th game, that gives us tremendous leadership," Barber said.
Although not as deep as the 16-team Titan Classic, the Goddard Invitational has provided Carroll with a good, early test.
"It gives us a nice test and gives us a chance to play some games out of league," Barber said.
Carroll changed its formation from the past, going with a 5-3-2 formation to bolster its offense.
The formation switch also helped the defense, which has shut out its three opponents, but is also a testament to sophomore goalie Keighton Allen.
"We changed our formation, taking away passes, and we needed more offense," Barber said. "(Allen) may be the best keeper that has come through Carroll. She is just a tremendous, competitive keeper."
Goddard, which lost to Garden City in the semifinals on a late free kick, plays Rose Hill for third place at 5 p.m.
"It was a tight, competitive game and a free kick into a 30 mile-per-hour wind was tough to defend," Goddard coach Scott Harder said. "But this gave us three extra, tough home games and that will help us down the road."
Titan Classic — The 21st Titan Classic at South continues to host one of the best 16-team fields.
The semifinals of the Blue bracket start at 4 p.m. today with Kapaun Mount Carmel meeting Salina Central. In the other semifinal, Maize plays Heights at 6:15. The winners play in the final Saturday at 2 p.m.
"It's a huge game, there's not enough I can say about Maize," Heights coach Steve Parks said. "Maize is the top team around here and until they get knocked off, they will be at the top."
In the Red bracket, the Dodge City-South winner plays the Hutchinson-East winner in the other final at 2 p.m. Saturday.