No question, loss to Loch Raven has Liberty looking for answers

May 27, 1994|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Staff Writer

It was supposed to be the night a talented Liberty girls lacrosse team put Carroll County in the state high school sports spotlight.

The fifth-ranked Lions looked as if they had the weapons to beat No. 4 Loch Raven and claim the county's first state girls lacrosse championship.

But it never happened, leaving one major lingering question yesterday.

How could a Liberty squad that always seemed to be prepared be beaten so badly Wednesday night in the state Class 1A-2A championship game at Catonsville Community College?

"I don't have any idea what went wrong," said senior Liberty midfielder Megan Horneman, moments after Loch Raven had defeated the Lions, 19-7, in a game that was delayed two hours by rain and a shoulder injury to a Dulaney player in the first game of the doubleheader.

Horneman spoke stoically as she walked off the field: "We were confident but not overconfident."

In contrast to Horneman, Liberty attacker Nathalie Skovron was crushed by the lopsided loss and her inability to score after averaging 4.5 goals a game before Wednesday night.

Skovron stood motionless with tears filling up her eyes and she didn't say a word.

She had just been shut down completely by Loch Raven's strong defender Anne Heine (5 feet 8), who used a 5-inch height edge over Skovron to advantage.

Skovron, who entered the game with 76 goals and 21 assists, rarely touched the ball and wasn't a factor.

"I knew they were going to concentrate on taking Nathalie out of the game," said Liberty coach Courtney Vaughn. "We were prepared for that, but what we couldn't overcome was the fact that they took us out of our transition game and slowed the ball down. It was a smart move on their part. That [set offense] is how the game is played at the next level."

When Loch Raven (16-0) went to the set offense, it was obvious that Liberty (16-2) had trouble adjusting.

Loch Raven midfielders Robyn Harry (five goals, three assists) and Lauren Volk (four goals) often waltzed through the Lions' defense for high-percentage shots against goaltenders Heather Carter and Lyndsey Pohlit.

Carter started the game but was pulled after 15 minutes with Loch Raven leading 8-3.

Volk (5-9) also dominated the draws against whomever Vaughn chose to take the draw for the Lions.

Vaughn shuffled players in and out of the game, including her big three scorers of Skovron, Horneman (58 goals, 12 assists) and Kym Frey (56 goals, 59 assists).

Frey managed to make three strong one-on-one moves for three of the seven Liberty goals Wednesday night.

Horneman, Amie Rose, Debbi Bourke and Melissa Martin each (( had one goal for the Lions.

In addition to Harry and Volk combining for nine goals, Loch Raven got three goals from Heather Kormanik and two goals and two assists from Kim Allen.

All the Loch Raven starters ranged from 5-4 to 5-9 in height, compared to a Liberty team that had mostly 5-3 to 5-5 players.

Plus, Loch Raven has an aura surrounding its team in girls lacrosse. The Raiders are 99-2 in seven seasons under coach Wendy Galinn, with the two losses coming against Mount Hebron in the state 1A-2A title game the past two seasons.

"We played outstanding offense and defense and really shut down their big players," said Galinn. "We wanted to take Skovron out of the game and we did. I think Fallston [a 10-9 state semifinal victory] was a wake-up call for us. We were ready for Liberty."

Volk said: "We pulled together, spread the field out and ran our offense. I've been working on my draws lately and it helped a lot."

In all, it was mostly a disastrous night for Liberty.

After waiting two hours to play, the Lions were hit with an illegal substitution call three minutes into the game when the officials discovered that Frey was not listed as a starter in the book.

The ball was given to Loch Raven on a free-position situation, and Volk went right down the field and scored for a 2-1 lead.

"That had nothing to do with us losing the game like this," said Vaughn.

But it didn't do anything to help Liberty's confidence at an important stage of the game. Loch Raven went on to build a 14-4 halftime lead and cruised in the second half.

About the only positive note for Liberty was the fact that nine of its 12 starters were sophomores and juniors.

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