Liberty goes all out for first tourney


April 19, 1995|By BILL FREE

Give Courtney Vaughn credit.

The Liberty girls lacrosse coach knows how to throw a tournament.

She invites Vice President Al Gore's two daughters, Kristin and Sarah, and their National Cathedral (D.C.) School teammates.

The proceeds from the tourney are given to the House of Ruth, a shelter for battered women.

A first-class tournament program is put together, with extensive information on each team, complete rosters, an in-depth explanation of the rules of girls lacrosse, and a complete diagram of all the signals used by the officials for game violations.

A first-rate hospitality room was organized by Shelley Bailey, who always seems to be around to help Liberty High on special occasions.

Making the tournament seem even more important for the players was Eric Ostwald behind the microphone in the press box, letting everybody know who scored the goals and who was entering the game.

Some of the teams in the tournament said it was the first time they had the luxury of a public address announcer.

Also on the scene making sure everything ran smoothly was Liberty principal Robert Bastress, assistant principal Florence Oliver and athletic director Ken Johnson.

In all, it was an impressive show by everybody around Liberty High who gave up an entire day on a holiday weekend to help promote girls lacrosse and the school.

Just think, the tournament went off so smoothly on the first try. Imagine what will happen when these people do it a second or third time.

With that kind of support from parents, friends and administrators, it is little wonder that Liberty has developed into one of the top girls lacrosse programs in the state.

The Lions, off to an 8-0 start, are 37-3 over the past 2 1/2 seasons.

Vaughn, wanting her team to get a strong midseason test, decided to present the Liberty Invitational when Mount Hebron canceled its tournament.

But Liberty ran away from a highly regarded National Cathedral team, 20-6, in the opening round and was pressed a little by St. Stephen's/St. Agnes (Va.) in the championship game before winning, 10-4.

The 10-4 victory was the closest game of the season for the Lions, who appear to be on their way to another state 1A-2A championship game showdown with Loch Raven (99-2 over the past seven years).

St. Stephen's is ranked No. 7 in the Washington-area prep girls lacrosse poll and Cathedral is No. 10.

Vaughn is doing everything possible to prevent another collapse against Loch Raven (19-7 loss) in the title game.

She is using two goalkeepers (juniors Jessica Horneman and Heather Carter) in every game, preparing both of them for an expected Loch Raven blitz.

Vaughn said Horneman gives the team an added dimension in the goal with her athletic ability.

Carter had the misfortune of facing Loch Raven as a sophomore and will be much further advanced this season. She played a strong second half (eight saves) against St. Stephen's. Horneman played the first half against St. Stephen's.

Also, Vaughn is trying to instill in her team the importance of slowing the pace and running a set offense instead of going for the fast break every time down the field.

"We need to be more patient," she said. "We try to slow it down but we're a better transition team."

Looking for every possible advantage, Vaughn sees the Lions as being a more balanced offensive team.

Last season, Nathalie Skovron, Kym Frey and Megan Horneman combined for 190 goals and 92 assists.

Loch Raven did a good job of shutting down Skovron and Horneman in the championship, leaving Frey as the lone threat.

This season, Amie Rose (36 goals in eight games) is having a Skovron-type year (76 goals last season) and is the one player the Lions like to go to.

But they also have Nicole Bengermino (22 goals), Amy North (17), Melissa Martin (14), Debbi Bourke (eight), Trisha Shaw (six) and Angi Primavera (six).

Bourke missed two games in the tournament due to a planned vacation.

Liberty also is a very solid defensive team, with Natalie Hannibal leading the way with a lot of help from Kerry Adams, Carey Epler, Nicki Jones and Michelle Clawson.

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