1994 record: 16-2. Coach: Courtney Vaughn.
Top players: Debbi Bourke, Sr., M; Amie Rose, Sr., M; Carey Epler, Sr., D; Natalie Hannibal, Sr., D; Michelle Clawson, Jr., D; Heather Carter, Jr., G; Amy North, Sr., A; Kerry Adams, Sr., A/D.
Outlook: Liberty (29-3 over the past two seasons) figures to dominate Carroll County opponents again this season. The Lions have four first-team selections and four honorable-mention choices back from last season.
There are also seven other talented players ready to make another run at a state 1A-2A championship.
The first-teamers returning are Bourke, Rose, Epler and Hannibal. Honorable mention players back are Clawson, Carter, North and Adams.
The long list of talent continues with juniors Ginger Thompson (D), Nicole Bengermino (A), Melissa Martin (A), Trisha Shaw (A), Kelly Grammes (M), Krista Schneider (M) and Angie Primavera.
Even though the Lions lost three players, Megan Horneman, Nathalie Skovron and Kym Frey who combined for 190 goals and 92 assists last season, Vaughn doesn't seem too concerned about where the goals will come from.
"Hopefully anybody who plays attack, midfield or defense can put the ball in the net for us," said Vaughn. "Our toughest opponent in the regular season will most likely be ourself. We still want to play a transition game this season but we want to learn how to slow it down if we have to."
Vaughn used Skovron, an attackman who plans to play at George
Mason this spring, as an example of a player who suddenly became a big-time scorer.
"Nathalie went from 20 goals her junior year to 76 as a senior. Hopefully someone like Debbi Bourke, Amy North or Amie Rose
can do the same thing this year," said Vaughn.
North Carroll Panthers
1994 record: 3-9. Coach: Denean Koontz.
Top players: Laura Kenney, Sr., D; Rachel Hare, Sr., M; Lindy Lopez, Sr., A; Kerry Gambrill, Sr., A; Jen Bohager, Sr., D; Carissa Kriechauf, Soph., A.
Outlook: Koontz, who has had a lot of success coaching the North Carroll field hockey team, takes over as head coach of the girls lacrosse team after three years as a varsity assistant and one year as junior varsity head coach. Koontz will be out to make the Panthers respectable.
She hopes to close the gap on powerful Liberty and South Carroll by increasing the number of players coming out for the team.
Until that happens, Koontz said the Panthers will rely on hard work in practice and hustle during games to win.
Hare, Lopez, Gambrill and Kriechauf are some of the players being counted on to score goals. Kenney should lead the defense in front of a young goalkeeper, sophomore Carol Wiegel.
Versatile senior Beth Moore, who will play all positions except goalkeeper, and junior midfielder Stacy Cook are other important players for the Panthers.
Koontz would not make any predictions for the season or single out any one or two players who might lead the team in scoring. Instead she played it safe, saying: "We hope to be competitive and we need a balanced attack."
South Carroll Cavaliers
1994 record: 8-6. Coach: Stacy Stem.
Top players: Katie Rockwell, Sr., D; Erin Nauyalis, Sr., G; Melissa Gettemy, Sr., A; Danielle Picker, Sr., D; Amy Kable, Sr., D; Carli Benham, Sr., A; Allison Cain, Sr., A.
Outlook: Stem believes her team can improve on last season's 8-6 record but said there is a lot of work ahead.
"We're not working together as a team yet even though we have nine seniors," she said. "We just haven't jelled. I'm looking to the junior varsity for some help."
One of those junior varsity players who has been called up to the varsity is sophomore attackman Jaime Yokay.
"We don't look too good right now," said Stem. "I'll have to pull something out of my hat soon if we don't improve."
All-County first-team selections Tracie DiDio and Erin Windsor have graduated.
If the Cavaliers make it to the 3A-4A West Region playoffs, they will have to get past perennial powerhouse Mount Hebron to advance to the state tournament. The Vikings ousted South Carroll last season and went on to win the state 3A-4A championship.
The road to success this season would have been a little easier if sophomore soccer and basketball standout Lindsey Vosloh had come out for the team. Vosloh would have been a super addition to the midfield, but she opted to play tennis after originally signing up for lacrosse.
1994 record: 4-8. Coach: Suzanne Peters.
Top players: Carrie Koltko, Sr., D; Nikki Cornell, Jr., D; Ann Brennan, Jr., A; Corrina Batten, Jr., A; Lori Morsberger, Jr, A; Stacy Pickett, Jr., M.
Outlook: Ten seniors are gone from last season, including the leading scorer on the team (Tiffany Weal who had 45 goals) and the top goalkeeper in the county (Jaime Wheat).
Those losses will make it hard for the Owls to improve on last season's record, but Peters is hopeful the team can win with a well-balanced
attack as opposed to going almost exclusively to Weal in important situations.
"We have three or four girls who aren't afraid to take it to the goal," said Peters. "I think Ann Brennan can score a lot for us. She knows where the goal is and can take the ball there."
Batten, Morsberger and Pickett also should be scoring threats.
Senior Melissa Warner and junior Mandy O'Neal are locked in a tight duel for the goalkeeping job and the right to replace Wheat.
"They'll probably split time in the
goal," said Peters. "I'm real pleased with the way both of them are playing."
The struggle to gain some ground on five-time defending county champion Liberty has become a mental ordeal for the Owls, said Peters.
"We don't go into the Liberty games expecting to win," she said. "These girls just have to overcome that mental block if we ever want to beat them. We'll have a young team going out to do it this season. That could be beneficial or it could be bad."