Punting is not an option for Kara Dugall, keeper for girls soccer power McKinney Boyd.
When the sophomore gets her hands on the ball, she is free to initiate play with a throw or a kick but never with a punt.
Jimmie Lankford, coach of Boyd (No. 2 in the ESPNRISE.com FAB 50 national rankings), went into the season thinking 50-50 possession odds after a punt weren’t good enough.
“My team first thought I was crazy,’’ Lankford said, “but our possession is up 18 percent this season.’’
Lankford said teams average between 20 and 30 punts a game. The advantage of the punt is extra distance. Keepers can boom the ball 30 or 40 yards from goal. But the distance comes with the risk of possession.
“Kara is so good with her feet and finding the open player," Lankford said. "And as the season has gone on, we‘ve gotten better with distribution.’’
The tactical change doesn’t appear to have hurt Boyd’s defense, which has recorded 17 shutouts on the way to a 23-0-3 record.
And Lankford said it has helped his team’s attack.
Junior Kelley Monogue has a school-record 35 goals, giving her a career total of 89. She and senior Emily Reid make a formidable combo.
“Those two work together so well, they’re almost unstoppable,’’ Lankford said.
Boyd, state champion in its final season in Class 4A in 2008, faces Southlake Carroll (12-6-3) in a Class 5A Region I area rematch at 8 p.m. Friday at Denton High. Boyd slipped past Carroll, 1-0, on a goal by Reid at the same juncture in the 2009 playoffs. Eventual 5A state champion Coppell defeated Boyd in the Region I finals.
Boyd hasn’t lost since.
“There are a lot of good teams in our region, but every year I think we have the potential to get to Austin,’’ Lankford said. “The way we’re playing right now, I like our chances.’’