Liberty wants victory over S. River for county pride 'We can play' with powers, coach says of title game

Girls soccer

November 15, 1996|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The Liberty Lions appear poised to bring home Carroll County's first state title in girls soccer.

It can happen tomorrow when they take on South River, a solid team from soccer-rich Anne Arundel County, in the Class 3A-2A championship at Dundalk Community College. Game time is noon.

"I think it's something we as a county can be proud of. This is good for our county," Liberty coach Sam DeLaurence said of the opportunity to play for a state crown. "We have kids here who can play at the same level with the others, and we have to instill that in them. We have to say, 'Yes, we can play with these teams.'"

TC The No. 5 Lions (15-0-2) are looking to play at the same high level they have shown throughout the region playoffs and in their convincing 3-0 win over Oakland Mills in Monday's state semifinal.

South River, also making its first state final appearance, is bent on shutting down Liberty senior Shanna Ziegenfuss, who has 24 goals on the season and nine in the playoffs.

"We'll try to have someone in front of her to slow her up so someone else can get to her," said South River coach Will Pharr. "If we can do that, then establish our game and use our speed, we'll be fine."

Teams spending a lot of energy trying to mark out Ziegenfuss is nothing new to the Lions and, in many ways, is welcomed.

"When everyone concentrates on her, it gives us more time to possess the ball," DeLaurence said, adding that the extra attention also can create one-on-one chances for his other players or even leave someone unmarked.

The Lions are getting excellent play in the middle from senior Haley DeLaurence, sophomore Trish Young and sophomore stopper Colleen Cox. Outside halfbacks Brigit Becker and Katie Gursky -- both seniors -- are playing their best ball of the season, enabling Ziegenfuss to play mostly up front with freshman Michelle Allen.

Forward Tiffany Williams is the first player off the bench and provides a different dimension with her speed and tenacity.

The Lions defense, led by junior sweeper Erica Gordon and sophomore goalie Gina Cinquegrani, is building on two straight shutouts against ranked teams. The Lions blanked South Carroll, 1-0, in overtime to win the West region before beating Oakland Mills, 3-0.

Leading South River's stingy defense is junior goalkeeper Erin -- Graham, who has 125 saves and only 13 goals-against in 16 games.

"They're going to be tough to score on," said DeLaurence. "They're a tough team, very aggressive. What we're preparing to do is speed up our game to keep it [the ball] to ourselves."

The No. 8 Seahawks (13-1-2) also have their share of weapons offensively. They are led by senior forward Theresa Beckett (13 goals, eight assists) and sophomore midfielder Jess DuVall, whose 10th goal of the season was the decider in a 2-1 win over Bel Air in Monday's other semifinal.

They outscored three opponents by a 20-0 margin to win the Class 3A-2A South region and lost only to No. 2 Arundel, 1-0.

Pub Date: 11/15/96

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