Liberty can't catch Dulaney

Lions' late 4-goal spurt isn't enough to overtake Balto. County team, 14-11

March 24, 2000|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

This isn't the same Liberty team. No. 15 Dulaney proved that yesterday by decisively upending ninth-ranked Liberty, 14-11, in a girls lacrosse game in Timonium.

In the season opener between two 1999 Class 3A-4A regional champions that have Lions as their mascots, Dulaney (1-0) put away more than 50 percent of its shots (14 of 26) and staved off a furious Liberty comeback at the end.

The outcome was in stark contrast from their previous meeting last season, when Liberty handed Dulaney a 16-3 whipping.

"Sloppy," said Liberty coach Courtney Vaughn of her team's play. "We couldn't pick up the ball; we couldn't catch and throw -- all the fundamentals."

It also didn't help that Dulaney had scrimmaged against top-ranked Mount Hebron, No. 3 Annapolis and No. 5 Severna Park, and all of Liberty's scrimmages were rained out.

"Playing against the caliber of teams like Annapolis and Mount Hebron was a benefit to us," said Dulaney coach Franz Wittlesberger. "It gave us an idea of where we need to be."

The lack of game-like conditions in training didn't hamper Liberty (0-1) through the game's first 15 minutes. Liberty traded goals with Dulaney until senior midfielder Jessica Roguski scored the first of what would become a four-goal effort to give Liberty a 4-3 lead with 9: 44 left in the first half.

The deficit seemed to spark Dulaney, which scored six unanswered goals to take a 9-4 lead at the half. During the scoring binge, junior attack Lauren Wittlesberger scored three goals, and her sister, senior attack Marlena Wittlesberger added two more.

Liberty tried to cut the gap in the second half, but every time the Carroll countians scored, Dulaney matched it. When Marlena Wittlesberger scored her fourth goal with 9: 09 left to give Dulaney a 13-7 lead, the game appeared over.

But then Liberty exploded for four straight goals in 5 1/2 minutes, cutting its deficit to two. But sophomore attack Becky Trumbo's shot with 1: 16 left went wide left.

Dulaney junior midfielder Sarah Creighton scored on a feed from Lauren Wittlesberger with three seconds left to seal the victory.

Marlena Wittlesberger, who also had an assist, said Dulaney's "circle offense" was effective against Liberty.

"The most important part of our game is moving around at the top of the arc, because then the defense has to stop and turn their heads," she said. "Once they turn their heads, we know that we have to use that and go to the net."

Liberty sophomore goalkeeper Kim Hastings registered seven saves but said she still had to shake some rust off her game.

"They were shooting a lot of risers, which I need to work on," Hastings said. "We need to stay on the goal side."

Echoing Vaughn, Trumbo said the team would concentrate on the basics.

"We kept making fundamental mistakes that we shouldn't have been making," she said. "We didn't play up to our potential."

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