PASADENA — Sometimes the gods aren't generous.
The Liberty Lions, finishing second in Class 3A/4A, Region I, came to Anne Arundel County Friday night looking to upset the Chesapeake Cougars, the second seed in the tournament and on a 17-game winning streak extending from the past season.
The Lions were nervous, but "they always play well when they're nervous," said Coach Courtney Vaughn. "We were hoping for an upset."
The upset didn't come, though. The Cougars defeated the Lions, 19-14. It was a victory that didn't come easy for the Cougars, though.
Led by attackers Rachel Horneman, Becky Woodford, Wendy Pahl and ValSwomley, Liberty rallied a couple of times to bring the Lions withinreach of the Cougars, 12-0 overall and 7-0 in the region.
"I think we played well against them," Swomley said. "We did good compared to some of the other teams they've played. In the beginning we were down four or five points, but we never gave up. It never brought us down."
The Lions, 8-3 overall and 5-1 in the county, were buoyed by the confidence they gained from a near-win earlier in the season. Theynearly topped St. Mary's of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, before losing by a goal. The Saints were ranked No. 3 in the metro area at the time.
"St. Mary's was a confidence builder," said Bob Burger, Liberty's trainer. "They played them quite well. It was hard to believeChesapeake could be better than that."
Better than that they were, though.
Although Liberty's Horneman scored the game's first goal, the Cougars came back with five, led by attacker Diane McBee, the Cougars' lead scorer. Then came five more goals.
"Three goals in 25seconds isn't good," Vaughn said. "We played real well at times. At times we played in spurts. There were a couple of lapses that hurt us."
During the first half, the Cougars took a 10-2 lead. Then 10-6.Then 13-6. For the Lions, there was always that battle cry from the Cougars' bench to contend with: "C'mon, McBee!"
"We forced some shots," Vaughn said. "We weren't passing like we should have been. We got a hold of the ball a couple of times, but didn't make the transition."
Liberty scored six goals in the second half, led by junior Swomley.
"We were playing well," Burger said. "But the Cougars were getting the draw. They would get the draw and go right in there and make a goal. If we got the draw, we'd half to work the ball down there to score. The Cougars are a very quick team."