ELDERSBURG — Liberty took control early and didn't look back as the team went on to a 3-0 sweep of North Carroll, 15-8, 15-2, 15-8, to take over sole possession of first place in the county volleyball race.
The win improves the Lions' record to 6-2 overall and 3-0 in the county, whilethe Panthers drop to 6-2 and 2-1 in the county.
It was a battle of the two remaining unbeaten teams in the county.
Defending county champ North Carroll was looking to remain at the top and visiting a confident Liberty team looking to seize it.
And Liberty carried the day in grand fashion.
"I never saw my team more focused than they were tonight," Liberty coach Helen Derwin said. "We wanted it so much.
"I liked the way we looked. We were very intense and played our game," she said. "When we dictate, I'm confident we'll come out on top."
The Lions took control of the first game midway through. Already leading, 6-4, they got some strong serving from Patti Bouver and a big spike from Laura Hennessy to take a 10-4 lead.
After a number of side outs, Bouver ended the game with another strong serve the Panthers couldn't return.
It was much of the same in the second game, with Liberty jump
ing out to a 9-0 lead on the serving of Calin Lawlor, strong net play by Kelly Foreman and alack of communication from the North Carroll team.
"She (Foreman)wanted this so much," Derwin said.
"She controlled the net like she can and has done all year."
Meredith McCullin capped the secondgame with a strong serve at 14-2.
Liberty rolled off seven straight points in the third game to put the match out of reach.
Liberty's Kari Myers handled the serving duties, and Foreman continued to dominate the net.
North Carroll cut the lead to 12-7, before Libertyiced it on a serve by Andrea Dixon that the Panthers couldn't handle.
"We didn't do too many things well, and they did a good job putting a string of serves together," North Carroll coach Linda Richards said.
"Our kids had a lot of heart and played hard," she said. "But we have a lot of work to do with our setting."
The Lions will try to remain unbeaten in the county when they visit South Carroll tomorrow, while North Carroll will try to bounce back tomorrow at Westminster.
The Panthers' junior varsity team improved to 8-0 on the season with a 15-13, 8-15, 15-7 win over the Lions.
The loss drops the Lions' junior varsity record to 5-3.