The only disappointing part of the Liberty-North Carroll girls soccer regional championship game Saturday night was that a Carroll County team had to lose.
It turned out to be North Carroll (8-4-2), which ran into a stubborn Liberty defense and a memorable, gritty two-goal effort by Lions senior Amy Wolff.
The Lions' 2-1 victory gave them their first Class 2A-1A, Region II championship.
"I told them before the game, win or lose, I was proud of them," said first-year coach Lynn Stone. "Winning was definitely the icing on the cake."
Wolff made the most of her few opportunities. After scoring only two goals last season, she finished third in the county in scoring during the regular season with 14 goals and one assist.
Wolff accounted for over 50 percent of Liberty's goals this season in helping the Lions finish 8-3-3.
"She has great speed and toughness and doesn't quit until the goalie has the ball in her hands," Stone said. "She's been there for us all year long."
Wolff showed finesse and great touch Saturday to give the Lions a 1-0 first-half lead. After beating a pair of North Carroll defenders along the right side, she cranked a left-footed shot from outside the 18-yard mark to the top left corner.
"We were looking to get the early goal and then play defense," Stone said.
"We started to play the hit-and-run game and I got a little concerned."
After county scoring leader Ashlee Douglas (15 goals and seven assists) tied it early in the second half, Wolff showed her physical side. She chased down a loose ball and kicked the game-winner past North Carroll goalie Teresa Mays, just before the two collided.
Both players left the game after the collision. Wolff re-injured a shin she hurt in the Lions' region semifinal win against Towson earlier in the week.
The Liberty defense did the rest as North Carroll continued to press. Dani Fostik finished with 16 saves as the Panthers outshot the Lions, 21-6.
For Panthers coach Phil Myers, it was a frustrating end to a fine season. "I don't know what the answer was," he said. "We went out and gave it 100 percent, got the shots and kept the pressure on. I couldn't ask for anything more.
"Their defense did a good job just getting there and not giving us the open shots."
Liberty wasn't the only successful Carroll team -- eight Carroll teams won region titles in cross country, field hockey and boys and girls soccer.