No. 14-ranked Liberty wasted little time in taking command of its Class 3A-4A West regional final yesterday, charging past visiting Walt Whitman, 15-3.
The outcome, largely the result of a 10-1 first-half run that coach Courtney Vaughn called "the best we've played all year," sent the Lions (14-3) into the state semifinal at Catonsville Community College vs. Annapolis, a 10-9 victor yesterday over Severna Park.
This will be the school's third trip to the state girls lacrosse tournament. The Lions lost to Loch Raven in the 1994 and 1995 state championship games.
Such is Liberty's depth this season -- 15 players scored 57 goals in four regional games -- that Vaughn can run players in and out without a noticeable drop-off in talent. And most of those players are juniors and sophomores.
Vaughn has been after Trish Young and Krista O'Brien to go to goal more, and in yesterday's game, it was O'Brien's turn. Young had scored six times in the first three playoff games, but O'Brien equaled that total against Whitman.
O'Brien, one of four seniors, said that "we practiced inside yesterday, and I worked on my dodge and controlling the ball. In the game, I got a chance, dodged, and scored. After that, the plays seemed to be there."
At the other end of the field, co-captains Kate Hannon and Jen Berarducci anchored the defense.
"We've all played together for awhile, so you know when you get the ball and look up, somebody will be there for you," said Hannon, one of the seniors, all of whom went to the state tournament as freshmen. "At the same time, working without the ball, I want to be there if I'm needed."
Berarducci thought the defense had worked together well, and she has seen definite improvement over the last two months.
"We want to force he play outside, so the attack will get as weak a shot as possible," she said.
Whitman (14-1), Montgomery County's best team, was in over its head against Liberty, although several visitors could start for any Carroll County team.
Senior goalkeeper Julia McCombs turned aside several point-blank shots and ended with 18 saves. Senior attack Michelle Livezey showed some solid skills.
"We had hoped to hang close, but I told the players it was important to play a good, clean game and have fun," said Whitman coach Pat Veihmeyer. "This is our second varsity season, and there is no JV. The big drawback is there is no youth program in [our] county."
Pub Date: 5/14/98