For everything that has changed in the last three years — whether it be the players on the field, the state playoff classifications, or the season during which games have been played — Liberty field hockey has managed to stay eerily consistent.
Including an unbeaten 8-0 record during the abbreviated spring 2021 campaign, the Lions haven’t lost since the 2018 regular season.
As this fall begins, Liberty is riding a 35-game winning streak that includes state titles in both the 1A (2019) and 2A (2018) classifications. The 2019 state championship included a perfect 18-0 record and saw Carroll County Coach of the Year Brenda Strohmer lead the program to its third state championship in four years.
Strohmer, in her 11th season as head coach, has an 83-13 record over the past six seasons and during the spring season her team allowed only 0.6 goals per game.
Westminster joined Liberty as state champions in 2019, winning the Class 3A title under coach Laurie Naill.
During the spring, though, it was Century (7-2) that faced off against Liberty for the county title. The Knights pushed the Lions the entire way before Liberty pulled through for its third straight county crown, 2-1.
Century and South Carroll open the season with new varsity head coaches.
Century coach Rosalia Cappadora makes her debut at Southern AA on Saturday, Sept. 4. South Carroll coach Kayla Houston opens the season on Friday, Sept. 10 at home against Bel Air.
The region quarterfinals are slated to begin on Oct. 28 and the state finals will be played on Nov. 13.
Westminster plays in Class 3A North Region Section I, while Century and Manchester Valley are in Class 2A West Region Section II.
Liberty, South Carroll and Winters Mill are the only three teams in Section I of the Class 1A West Region.
Coach: Rosalia Cappadora (1st season)
Record last season: 7-2.
Players to watch: Danielle DeLawter (M), Mackenzie Feltz (M) and Ella Morris (A).
Outlook: Century is returning only four starters, but the players have been working extremely hard to continue to be a competitive team and hopefully have another successful season. Feltz, a two-time All-County player, had 10 goals and four assists as a junior last season, including three goals in a win over Winters Mill.
Francis Scott Key
Coach: Lori Knights (9th season)
Record last season: 2-6
Players to watch: Senior Brooke Boyer (D); junior Katelyn Boyer (F).
Outlook: The Eagles, who are looking for a strong year coming off a strange season in the spring, have a nice well-rounded team. Katelyn Boyer was a second team All-County player in the spring.
Coach: Brenda Strohmer (11th season)
Record last season: 8-0
Players to watch: Senior Caitlynn Szarko (F); juniors Lucy Davidson (M) and Jenna Evans (F).
Outlook: Liberty’s state championship season in 2019 began with 1-0 wins over Marriotts Ridge and Dulaney in a season-opening tournament. This year’s squad will begin in the Urbana Tournament on Sept. 4 with games against Centennial and Urbana. First team All-County forward Szarko was the spring 2021 Times Player of the Year when she led the county with 25 points (10 goals, five assists). Davidson (two goals, four assists) and Evans (seven goals, four assists) were first team All-County selections in the spring as well.
Coach: Denean Koontz (3rd season)
Record last season: 2-6
Players to watch: Seniors Jessie Bare (M) and Maddie Fisher (M); junior Ashley Mountcastle (M).
Outlook: Bare and Mountcastle were second team All-County selections during the spring season for the Mavericks, who earned victories over Francis Scott Key and Winters Mill.
Coach: Kayla Holston (1st season)
Record last season: 4-3-1
Players to watch: Seniors Cadence Naill (F), Kennedy Thomas (D) and Stephanie Zirkenbach (M); junior Lainey Rogers (D).
Outlook: Although Morgan Collins (D), Emma Sellers (M), and Campbell Vitex (F) have graduated, the team returns last season’s top scorer and second team All-County midfielder ZIrkenbach.
Coach: Laurie Naill (5th season)
Record last season: 4-3
Players to Watch: Senior Paige Davis (M); junior Miranda Moshang (D).
Outlook: ”My expectation for every game is the same, it doesn’t matter who we are playing. Our goal is to be the best in the county and win another regional/state championship. But if that doesn’t happen, as long as we continue to give 110%, be committed and play the best field hockey we can, I will be happy with that win or lose,” coach Naill said.
Moshang (one goal, one assist in the spring) is a two-time first team All-County player.
Coach: Christine Bradley (6th season)
Record last season: 1-7
Players to watch: Senior Brooke Berol (F); juniors Annie Pruitt (M) and Sophia Vallandingham (G).
Outlook: “The players are so excited to have a real season. We’re going to take each game, one at a time, and focus on doing our best, staying positive, and remember that we’re a family that supports each other on and off the field,” coach Bradley said.
Latest Carroll County High School Sports
Vallandingham was a second team All-County goalie in the spring.