With an overtime victory earlier this month, Liberty became the first Carroll County girls lacrosse team to defeat Century.
Now, coach Nicki Jones is looking for an encore.
"We're just going to say, `OK, now you guys know you can do it. Now, we expect it from you,' "said Jones, whose team was 4-0 heading into yesterday's North Harford tournament. "Now we know how good they can play."
Liberty is led by its stingy and cohesive defensive unit.
The defense is led by senior Megan McCormick and juniors Meagan Borgoyn, Meaghan Conlon and Jackie Karr. Then there's the team's defensive-minded midfield of juniors Brittany Vierra, Amy Gladfelter and Steph Deisher, as well as standout senior goalie Kristy Hankinson.
Except for Carr, they all played together at the varsity level last year.
"They just click," Jones said. "They make sure they're having fun out there, and they all trust each other. They work more as a complete unit. It's almost like they coach themselves. They always know how to correct things."
That was the case in the Lions' recent 9-7 win over defending Class 2A-1A state champion Century. In that game, Liberty rallied from behind after trailing by two early, then held the Knights scoreless in overtime.
The victory ended Century's 21-game overall winning streak, as well as the Knights' 25-game streak against county opponents. Century had previously never lost a game to a county opponent since moving to the varsity level in 2003.
"I know we're equally talented, but usually [the Knights] have been a mental block for us," said Jones, whose team hasn't won its region since 2000. "They always believed that they could, but they never finished it."
The name game
The Monocacy Valley Athletic League has chosen the name "Blue Ridge" for the new division next school year that will be comprised of five schools from Carroll County. Century, Francis Scott Key, Liberty, South Carroll and Winters Mill will compete in the division in all sports except field hockey and lacrosse, two sports in which fewer teams in the league compete.
Westminster and North Carroll will remain in the Chesapeake Division.
For most sports, MVAL teams will be split into four divisions: the Antietam for teams in Class 1A, the Blue Ridge for those in Class 1A and 2A, the Piedmont for teams in Class 2A and 3A and the Chesapeake for teams in Class 3A and 4A.
Winters Mill boys lacrosse coach Sal Picataggi still isn't sure that his team deserved to be labeled the preseason favorite in Carroll County.
"We had guys return who were very good players," Picataggi said, "but that and 50 cents still isn't going to get you a cup of coffee."
Three weeks into the season, however, the Falcons continue to meet those lofty expectations. Their 6-0 record marked the best start in school history, with wins against county rivals Westminster, Century and South Carroll included in the mix.
"I give other teams that have done it for so long a lot of credit," Picataggi said. "It's a different way to approach games."
To submit news and story ideas about Carroll County high school athletics, contact Rich Scherr at CarrollSports@comcast.net