A strange thing happened to the Liberty field hockey team last year.
The Lions had a 6-4-3 record and went to the 2A regionaplayoffs, but very few people noticed.
Almost everybody else in the county went to the stattournament. The lone exception was North Carroll, which came within a controversial goal of reaching the states at Goucher College.
Yes, they play field hockey for keeps in Carroll County and the results show.
The county has won 14 state championships in 18 years of the tournament.
Liberty owns two of the 14 titles (1981 and 1982) but the Lions have been shut out of the fun lately.
Lions coach Courtney Vaughn said girls soccer has become very popular at the school and is taking some top athletes away from hockey.
But Vaughn sees field hockey possibly making a comeback in popularity, with the elimination this season of the obstruction call that often slowed down the high school game.
Vaughn said field hockey will become a more wide-open game and suited for the 1990s.
"You can move the ball in any direction as long as it is moving," she said. "That means the spin move is now legal and our players are working on it. They first allowed the spin move in the NCAA last season and now it's come down to the high-school level."
Just how much the spin move will help the Lions in the rugged Carroll County league isn't known.
Liberty lost six starters, including All-County goalie Holly Bilenki, Shelly Reichel and Carly Carter.
However, the team's leading scorer from last season, junior forward Debbi Bourke, is back and should surpass her 10-goal count as a sophomore.
"Hopefully Debbi will show us her stuff this season once she gets over the flu," said Vaughn.
Senior midfielders Heather Thompson and Laura Duklewski, junior midfielder Amy North and senior sweeper Kerry Stossel also are being counted on heavily this season.
Junior Kim Eng and sophomore Heather Carter are battling for the right to replace Bilenki. Both have a year's experience on the junior varsity.
"We have a lot of kids with equal ability," said Vaughn. "They're working hard but I really don't know what to expect. We're pretty young this season."
Sophomore midfielder Krista Schneider and sophomore defender Jessica Horneman are two more young athletes who will get a chance to impress Vaughn on the varsity.
Juniors abound, with Jaime Smith, Jeannie Rainey, Megan Renehan, Cindi Collins and Jaime Hutchinson trying to help the Liberty cause.