Liberty girls have talent, selfless ways

CARROLL SPORTS

May 25, 1994|By BILL FREE

In a high school season filled with disappointments, it is time to pay tribute to one of the most talented teams that has ever come out of Carroll County.

The 1994 Liberty High girls lacrosse team is no ordinary collection of athletes.

Most of these girls have outstanding speed, can throw and catch superbly, are extremely skilled in the fundamentals, are highly motivated, aren't afraid to do the dirty work such as fight for ground balls, are focused on winning, and probably most important they don't seem to care who scores the goals.

Coach Courtney Vaughn and the Lions will be going for the county's first state girls lacrosse championship tonight and have an excellent chance of winning against Loch Raven, which has been a perennial state 1A-2A runner-up to Mount Hebron.

Now that Mount Hebron has moved up to 3A-4A, Loch Raven probably is thinking its time has come.

But Liberty brings some incredible credentials into tonight's 7 o'clock confrontation with Loch Raven at Catonsville Community College.

The Lions (16-1) have outscored opponents, 316-127, won 12 in a row, have put together a 29-2 record in two seasons, obliterated three opponents by a 63-24 margin on the way to the finals and have three players who have scored 50 goals or more, and one with 76 goals.

The skeptics might say that Liberty has rolled up many of these impressive stats against subpar competition in Carroll County.

Not so.

The Lions actually have been more convincing against Howard and Anne Arundel schools in the regionals and the state semifinals than they were against South Carroll, Westminster and North Carroll.

So bring on Loch Raven.

That is the feeling among attacker Nathalie Skovron (76 goals, 21 assists), midfielder Megan Horneman (57 goals, 12 assists) and attacker Kym Frey (48 goals, 54 assists). Those three seniors have combined for 181 goals and 87 assists.

All three have strong enough credentials to be Player of the Year in Carroll County. Frey won that award last season.

Skovron is having an incredible season, averaging close to 4.5 goals a game, and Horneman is probably the best athlete ever to play girls lacrosse in the county.

And there is a lot more to the Liberty squad than the big three scorers. There is versatile junior Debbi Bourke who, like Horneman, is an extremely gifted athlete. Bourke has played defense, midfield and attack and probably could go in the goal if asked.

Vaughn asked Bourke to move from attack to defense at the start of the season for the good of the team. Bourke wasn't so happy with the idea at first, but agreed to the switch in a strong show of team loyalty.

Bourke's willingness to sacrifice personal glory for the team seems to have set the tone for the unselfish attitude of this exceptional team.

Speaking of unselfish players, junior defender Natalie Hannibal loves to concentrate on stopping the other team's top scoring threat.

Game after game, Hannibal makes life miserable for the big-name players who try to work their scoring magic against her.

Hannibal does whatever it takes to stop a player. She blocks shots, intercepts passes and uses her speed and quickness to cover a lot of ground around the goal.

Another outstanding defender is junior Carey Epler, who never played lacrosse before her freshman year but in two years has come far enough to be mentioned in the same breath with Hannibal.

In the midfield, Amie Rose can create offense with her exceptional passing and ability to control the draw. Rose also scored 25 goals.

Also, there is a lot of depth on this team. Vaughn had five junior varsity players dressed for the regional final against Wilde Lake, giving the Lions 11 players on the bench.

"We have people on the bench who could be starting at most schools," said Vaughn.

South Carroll season ends

It never seems to fail.

A fourth seed such as South Carroll knocks off a top seed such as heavily favored Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the semifinals of the regionals, and then can't finish the job in the championship game.

After turning back the Battling Barons, 4-2, on Friday in the 3A West baseball semifinals, the Cavaliers headed to familiar surroundings Saturday to take on Central Maryland Conference rival Thomas Johnson in the finals.

South Carroll, TJ and Frederick all shared the CMC title with 8-4 records, and the Patriots didn't have their top pitcher, Mike Anders, available to throw on Saturday.

So it appeared the Cavaliers had a really good opportunity to carry the momentum from the BCC victory through TJ for a berth in the state 3A tournament. But it didn't happen, even though South Carroll led 3-0 in the first and 5-4 in the fourth.

TJ rallied for the two deciding runs in the last of the fourth for a 6-5 victory, ending coach Joe Foltz' seven-year career at South Carroll.

It's a bit of a surprise that TJ's No. 2 pitcher, Kevin Breckenridge, was able to stop the hot-hitting Cavaliers on five runs in seven innings.

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