Dulaney's Vaughan makes mark Soccer standout not easy to defend


Aimee Vaughan's remarkable goal-scoring prowess is well known throughout Baltimore County.

Perhaps too well known.

Lately, the Dulaney High School senior has been the subject of a lot of harassment by defenders.

But for The Baltimore Sun's 1992 Girls Soccer Player of the Year, fighting off gimmick defenses has become almost an everyday occurrence.

"If I'm wide open, I probably won't get very far," said Vaughan. "I just try to go out and play each game the way I normally do. If I see I'm double-teamed, I'll just try to find the open person and get rid of the ball as soon as possible."

No defense, however, has shut out this finisher.

The forward has scored 33 goals and dished out seven assists while helping the 9-1 Lions outscore opponents, 104-10.

The numbers are similar to last season's when Vaughan was named to All-Metro and All-State teams while helping lead Dulaney to its second straight Class 4A state title appearance.

The Lions lost that game to Centennial in sudden-death overtime, marking the second straight year the Howard County power beat Dulaney in the state finals.

For Vaughan, the experience was frustrating.

"It was horrible; it was just a nightmare," said the three-sport athlete, who also competes on Dulaney's basketball and lacrosse teams. "Losing twice to them was bad enough. What made it even worse was that last year we were down 4-1 and came back to tie it up. It was just really hard to deal with."

With a younger, and maybe more talented, team this season, the No. 6 Lions are aiming for another shot at the title. Coach Kathy Schmidt said Vaughan's leadership is at the forefront of the effort.

Said Schmidt: "She's physically strong, mentally tough, she has coordination, field sense. . .

"Actually, it's easier to say what she doesn't have. It makes for a much shorter list."

Vaughan said that comes from playing soccer since she was 7. After starting out in the Cockeysville Rec League, she moved on to club teams, and still competes for Vista (Va.) United of the Washington Area Girls Soccer League on weekends.

But with an opportunity to make it back to the state finals for the third year in a row, it's the Lions who take precedence.

Dulaney has beaten up on the league's weaker teams, defeating Lansdowne, Woodlawn and Randallstown by a combined score of 47-0.

The only blemish on this year's record has come to Perry Hall, who beat Dulaney, 5-4, in a non-league game last week.

Perry Hall coach Patrick Sokoloski, who last year watched Vaughan burn his team for five goals in the regional playoffs, has changed his philosophy on marking Vaughan.

"We try to put as much physical contact on her as possible," said Sokoloski. "She's tough to mark because she also has a great ability to distribute the ball, and I think you have to worry about that even more than her scoring."

Vaughan said the loss woke up her team and showed players the importance of coming out motivated and ready to battle.

The Lions will get another shot at the Gators today in a league game at Dulaney. It's the marquee matchup in a brutal schedule, which has the Lions playing four games in four days through tomorrow.

"I'll just try to sleep a lot and eat a lot of spaghetti," said Vaughan. "Things will be different this time. Our intensity will be a lot better."

In the bigger picture, Vaughan plans to continue her soccer career at a local college -- preferably less than a couple hours away -- where she plans to take up accounting. During the summers, she works and water skis on her father's new 23-foot power boat.

But soccer always will be her first love, no matter how much opposing defenders try to limit her.

"I think I like soccer the best," said Vaughan. "The defenses really don't bother me that much. I just like playing the game."

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