March 22, 1996|By Jeff Seidel

Liberty Lions

1995 record: 17-1.

Coach: Courtney Vaughn.

Top players: Nicki Jones, Sr., M; Melissa Martin, Sr., A; Michelle Clawson, Sr., D; Heather Carter, Sr., G; Trisha Shaw, Sr., A; Kari Evans, Jr., M; Ginger Thompson, Sr., M.

Outlook: The Lions have lost to perennial power Loch Raven in the past two state title games, but a move to Class 3A means they won't have to worry about the Raiders. Instead, longtime power Mount Hebron stands in Liberty's region, and the Lions will have a tougher time this season. Shaw and Martin lead a good offense that lacks experience in spots. Jones, who has accepted a scholarship to Ohio State, All-County pick Carter and Clawson will anchor a defense with a mix of talent and question marks. Vaughn said the team lacks the depth of years past. She said the Lions have been searching for the right mix throughout the preseason. Vaughn also toughened the schedule, so the school's 42-game regular season winning streak could be in jeopardy. "There's a lot of question marks. We have a little work to do," said Vaughn.

North Carroll Panthers

1995 record: 6-6.

Coach: Denean Koontz.

Top players: Stacy Cook, Sr., A; Jackie Chase, Sr., D; Ahna Hentz, Jr., D; Wendy Redmer, Sr., A; Carisa Kreichauf, Jr., G.

Outlook: Lots of new faces here. The Panthers bring back only four players from last year's playoff team that lost to Oakland Mills in the first round. Koontz said the Panthers are going to be a young, hard-working team that may take some time to mature. Cook, an All-County selection, should carry some of the early load, as she was one of the County's top scorers last year. Cook, Chase and Redmer help provide some good senior leadership that Koontz said North Carroll will need. Even though the defense is almost completely new and they have few returnees overall, the Panthers should come on later as most played together on junior varsity. "They're hard-working and they're improving each day," said Koontz.

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