Vaughan's rules help keep Lions unbeaten


April 28, 1993|By BILL FREE

In the sometimes laid-back world of girls lacrosse, Liberty High is a rarity.

Coach Courtney Vaughan keeps driving the unbeaten Lions to the finish line, practicing day after day no matter how spectacular the team plays.

Vaughan has given her players only one day off in a 7-0 season that has included such scoring shows as a 28-5 romp over Wilde Lake, a 21-7 beating of Atholton and a 19-9 thumping of county rival North Carroll.

Through the first six games of the season, Liberty had outscored its opponents, 117-40.

And all this is coming after three straight Carroll County girls lacrosse championships for Liberty. The Lions are 11-0 against neighborhood rival South Carroll entering tomorrow night's game at South Carroll.

Talk about dynasties.

Vaughan has put one together that figures to last at least two more years. Five of the Liberty starters are sophomores and four are juniors.

When any team dominates a league like Liberty has, it's always interesting to look at how that school got to the top.

Vaughan said that "great athletes and Gigi Jones [JV coach]" have been the major forces behind the school's success.

Jones has been the girls JV lacrosse coach for four years and has not lost a game since 1991. That is impressive.

But unbeaten JV teams don't always spell success at the varsity level. Here's where Vaughan comes in.

She has a knack for taking players with enormous potential and making sure they fulfill that potential. If a girl is a good enough athlete to learn how to shoot left-handed and right-handed, she will accomplish that important skill under Vaughan's direction.

Six Liberty players now can shoot from both sides. They are Chrissy Primavera, Kym Frey, Megan Horneman, Kerry Stossel, Amie Rose and Krista Centofanti.

Primavera, a senior, is the runaway scoring leader on the team with 31 goals and eight assists. Frey has 18 goals and 15 assists, and Horneman has racked up 18 goals and six assists.

This threesome is driving foes crazy and making the Lions a major threat to knock off defending state 2A-1A girls lacrosse champion Mount Hebron.

The Vikings are ranked No. 1 this season in the Baltimore metro area and Liberty is No. 11. Both teams are unbeaten and play in the same region, most likely assuring a confrontation in the regional finals.

Vaughan says her players anxiously are awaiting a shot at Mount Hebron.

"Some coaches say Mount Hebron is not beatable," said Vaughan. "They play a different style from us. They slow the ball down and we run. But our players believe in themselves and we haven't reached our potential yet. Hopefully, we'll peak in the playoffs. Also we don't rely on any one player to score."

In addition to having good athletes and Jones coaching the JV team, the Liberty coach cites discipline as an important reason for all the success.

"Our program is very disciplined. We're very serious, but we also have fun and are used to winning," said Vaughan, who has two top assistants in Lynn Stone and Michelle Jolly.

"I've only given them one day off from practice all season and a lot of people say they can't believe those girls are out there practicing all the time."

Also, I'm honest with the kids and they respect that I don't show favorites."

Vaughan's No. 1 rule is that if a player doesn't attend practice the day before a game, she doesn't play in the game unless she has a good excuse.

Also, if a player is not working hard in practice, Vaughan will send that player home and then limit her playing time in the next game.

In Vaughan's first year as coach at Liberty, the star player on the team showed up late for practice without a good excuse and was held out of the first half of the next game.

"We lost that game," said Vaughan. "But as much as you want to win, you have to remember you're out there to teach these kids something."

This season, Vaughan sent an outstanding player home for not playing hard in practice before an important game against Westminster. And as the rule goes, that girl had her playing time reduced severely against the Owls.

"It could have hurt us against Westminster," said Vaughan. "But it's not fair to the other players to have someone loafing in practice and then get to play in the game."

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