1994 record: 6-6. Coach: Troy Barnes.
Top players: Jeff Bachman, Sr., G; Matt Piechocki, Sr., D; Chris Younger, Sr., D; Chris Frantz, Sr., A; Mark Miller, Sr., A; Mark Ozgar, Sr., M; Chris Cougnet, Sr., M; Ryan Pagels, Soph., D.
Outlook: No single player sticks out on this year's Lions squad, it just has plenty of experience and balance. The Lions will rely on a sturdy defense led by Bachman in goal and an attack that will spread the scoring. "We don't have any real standouts, but as a unit we've come along real well," said Liberty assistant Jim Langrall. "We're pretty balanced throughout. They're moving the ball around real well." Bachman, a tri-captain, gets it all started from the back with plenty of help from Piechocki, Younger and Pagels. "Jeff's looking real strong. He's quick, has a lot of experience and is good at getting the ball out for our transition," Langrall said. "The defense has played together for awhile and communicate real well. Communication is the key to defense." The Lions will go with three midfield lines with each of equal ability. Ozgar brings a lot of energy to the position and is complemented by Cougnet. Both are captains. "Our strength is at midfield. Mark and Chris are two guys who ran together on junior varsity when they were freshmen," Barnes said. "They know each other so well and play off each other real well." Frantz and Miller are the big threats up front, but Barnes is anticipating a number of candidates will be able to score -- including the midfielders. "In years past it's been two or three guys. This year, we feel we have scorers all over the field," Barnes said.
North Carroll Panthers
1994 record: 1-12. Coach: Tom Davidson.
Top players: Bert Magladry, Sr., D; Bill Beltz, Sr., D; Matt Ruhlman, Sr., M; Jamie Rill, Sr., M; Matt Devers; Sr., A; Jason Elmo, Sr., A.
Outlook: The North Carroll roster is full of first- and second-year lacrosse players as Davidson continues to work on building a foundation in his second season. The Panthers' 1-12 record last season is deceiving in that they always came right at teams and did a good job of staying close. "We had chances to win some games, but had silly penalties late or made other mistakes," Davidson said. "This season, we want to turn the fourth quarter into a win instead of a loss." The Panthers' strength will be on defense with the return of Magladry and Beltz. Senior Clint Shamer will see most of the time in goal. The big question comes at the offensive end where the Panthers have no proven scorers. This year's entire roster provided only three goals for the Panthers all of last season and no single player back had more than one goal. Sophomore John Dubicki, who led the junior varsity team in scoring last year, moves up to varsity and might provide a spark. "The defense seems to be where we're most experienced and that's where everything will start from. We have to hold the ball and play more of a control game," Davidson said. "We're moving the ball around pretty well up front. Everyone is cutting in the right places, but panicking a little when they get there. It's a split-second decision and we're hurrying a little too much, hitting the [goalie] in the chest or sending [shots] wide. We're working on finishing with a lot of repetitions." Ruhlman and Rill anchor the midfield with sophomore Shane Latlay up from junior varsity to handle most of the faceoffs.
South Carroll Cavaliers
1994 record: 7-4. Coach: Jeff Alisauckas.
Top players: Dan Hughes, Sr., M; Tom Luster, Sr. A; John Eaton, Sr., M; Jeremy Esworthy, Sr., D; Tom Shaffer, Sr., G; Dave Price, Jr., M.
Outlook: The rich South Carroll tradition survived an 0-2 start and a 12-11, come-from-behind overtime win against Liberty late last season to win its eighth straight county title and first under coach Jeff Alisauckas. This season, the Cavs have a great deal of talent returning with a year's worth of experience in the Alisauckas system. Scoring will not be a problem. The Cavs have three of the county's top four scorers returning in Player of the Year Hughes, first-team selection Luster and honorable-mention Eaton. "I sat down with the coaching staff and we definitely felt we'd be able to put the ball in the cage some this season," Alisauckas said. "Hughes is a great asset, but we don't have to rely on any one player to be our go-to guy. Tommy [Luster] is looking to have a great season, he's revved up and John [Eaton] is pumped up, too." Much of the Cavaliers' success during their string of county titles was due to their depth at midfield, and this season is no exception. Along with Hughes and Price, the Cavs have seniors Brian Eybs and Martin Oswiecimka to go with a strong group of newcomers. The one concern going in appeared to be on defense, but Alisauckas is pleased with how some newcomers have filled voids. Esworthy is the leader with Mike Robitaille moving back from midfield and Marc Barnes a big presence in close. Shaffer has looked sound in goal so far replacing last year's first-team selection Clay Arthur.
1994 record: 4-8. Coach: Jim Peters.
Top players: Jonathan Gibson, Jr., G; Jae Wah, Sr., G; Ben Heslin, Sr., D; Jeff Leppert, Sr., D; Paul Binetti, Sr., M; Dave Hare, Jr., M; Mark Ruby, Sr. A.
Outlook: The Owls have talent, experience and depth at all positions and appear poised to make a strong run at eight-time county champ South Carroll. Two All-County selections return in Heslin and Binetti, along with honorable-mention Leppert and three-year starter Ruby. That's only the start. The Owls have two quality goalies in Gibson and Wah, added speed at midfield with Hare moving back from attack and an already deep offense that will get an added boost with the return of leading scorer Dave Baker, who's out two weeks with a sprained ankle. Peters said a key will be the improved midfield led by Binetti. "Last year, we didn't have the quickness [at midfield] than we've had in past years. These kids bring the quickness back. They hustle, listen well and look out for one another," he said. "They can score, too. We haven't had our midfielders shooting very much in past years, but this group likes to shoot the ball. I'm expecting a lot more scoring from the midfield this year." Ruby and Baker also provide a capable one-two punch on attack. "Ruby's the guy. He's the quickest player on our team and covers the entire field," Peters said.