Liberty's Bourke prefers to pass around the credit


Debbi Bourke makes lacrosse look so simple.

She races past opponents down the field, catches the ball in full stride and instinctively whips a pass to a wide-open teammate or goes straight to the goal for a high-percentage shot.

At times, it looks as if she could completely dominate any game.

But the Liberty senior attacker doesn't believe in one-person shows.

"I don't like girls who take the ball through three people to score," said Bourke. "I prefer to pass."

That is exactly what the 5-foot-2 Bourke has been doing a lot during her three years on the Liberty varsity team that is 39-3 with Bourke around.

As a sophomore, she helped make Chrissy Primavera the leading scorer in Carroll County.

In her junior year, Bourke set up the Lions' high-scoring Nathalie Skovron, Kym Frey and Megan Horneman.

Now as a senior, she has been content to feed the ball to Amie Rose, who averages more than four goals a game and might break Skovron's single-season record of 76 goals.

Frey and Horneman already have picked up Carroll County Player of the Year awards and Rose is a contender for that award this season.


She has no scoring records and a few awards but has proven she can play the game with anybody in Carroll County.

It just seems that Bourke prefers to remain in the background, being part of the winning show instead of the ringleader.

Liberty coach Courtney Vaughn admitted that Bourke is like Rose and "can score almost anytime if she sets her mind to it."

"Debbi is 5-2 but plays 6-2. She has good field sense, is a feisty player and is not afraid to go to the goal," said Vaughn.

Delaware women's lacrosse coach Denise Westcott took one look at Bourke last spring in the state Class 1A-2A semifinals and was immediately interested in her.

"She [Westcott] knows who I am and will be back to watch me this year in the states," said Bourke. "I'm going to Delaware and try out for lacrosse but right now I don't have a scholarship. I'm going there primarily for their engineering school. They have a good one. I want to be a chemical engineer."

This season for fifth-ranked Liberty (12-0), Bourke has 13 goals and 10 assists despite missing three games because she was out of town.

She missed a chance to play against Vice President Al Gore's two daughters, Kristin and Sarah, when the Lions met National Cathedral (D.C.) School in the opening round of the Liberty Invitational.

That was a little disappointing but Bourke was more upset over not being able to play three days later against neighborhood rival South Carroll.

She had returned to school from her trip that day and was in uniform on the sidelines for the game.

But Bourke was not allowed to play because of a Vaughn rule that says a player can't compete if she misses practice the day before the game.

"It was our toughest game of the season [Lions had to scramble for a 10-7 win]," said Bourke. "It's the one game I like to play in. I was nervous and frustrated on the sidelines where I could see all the things wrong we were doing. No one had a good game."

Bourke believes the Lions still need to show a lot of improvement before they can expect to beat Loch Raven in an expected rematch in the state 1A-2A championship game. The Raiders won, 19-7, last year.

"We're as good as last year one-on-one but we're not working together as well," said Bourke. "We're missing a lot of catches."

The top individual girls lacrosse awards that have come Bourke's way are a berth on the 1994 United States Women's Lacrosse Association High School South III squad and first-team All-Carroll County honors last season.

She also was second-team All-Carroll as a junior and first-team All-Carroll as a senior in field hockey.

It was as a senior member of the field hockey team that Bourke showed exactly how much of a team player she is.

After playing forward the first two years of her career, Bourke was asked by Vaughn, who also coaches field hockey, to play defense because the team needed her more at that position.

Bourke agreed without a hassle and the Lions won 10 of their last 12 games to make the 2A regional finals.


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