La Plata loses to Patuxent in SMAC title game
Panthers capture first conference title in 5 years
Twelve games in, the Patuxent Panthers are still perfect.
For the first time in five years, Patuxent claimed the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference championship with a 5- 0 shutout of the visiting La Plata Warriors in Lusby.
After capturing five straight conference titles from 2007 through 2011, head coach Lynn Powell and the Panthers were proud to reign supreme in SMAC after a five- year hiatus.
Patuxent ( 12- 0 overall), the SMAC Chesapeake Division champions after a perfect 6- 0 record, is now are gearing up for the Class 1A South Region playoffs where it has the top seed in Section II. The Panthers start their playoff journey versus fourth- seeded McDonough at 6 tonight in a section semifinal contest.
Patuxent, which was denied a berth in the SMAC title game in 2015 when Huntingtown secured a place based on head- to- head tiebreaker, won the region crown en route to advancing to the state championship game, falling to Worcester County’s Pocomoke 5- 0.
“It’s awesome to win SMAC. We’ve been right there in second for the last five years and it hurts a little bit, but it is still a good place to be when your among the best of the best,” Powell said. “The girls pretty much willed themselves that they were going to win the SMAC title at the beginning of the season. They are just a fun team to coach and want to do so much and get better everyday. They really care about one another.”
Patuxent led 2- 0 at halftime and added three more goals in the second half to preserve the shutout. The Panthers have been nearly perfect on defense,
allowing just one goal all season.
Junior Riley Flanary, who scored a goal in a 2-0 win over the Leonardtown Raiders last Wednesday, was a scoring machine in the SMAC title game, collecting her first career varsity hat trick with both goals coming in the first half.
Flanary’s first goal came on an assist from Mack Dinopoulos at the 15 minute 15 second mark of the half.
“Having the first goal really excited me and set the tone and makes everyone on the team to want to keep going,” Flanary said. “It’s exciting to win SMAC and it is just the beginning, we’ve worked so hard for this.”
Throughout the game, Patuxent had possession on its side of the field, limiting La Plata, the champions of the SMAC Potomac Division with a 6-0 record, to any scoring opportunities.
“This is so incredible because the main reason that I went into field hockey was because my sister Jordan [Dinopoulos] graduated from the same school and she wasn’t able to win SMAC or go to states like I have, so it is pretty cool,” Dinopoulos said. “I’m feeling better about this year we are more confident and know that we are supposed to go to states.”
Flanary scored her second goal of the game with less than two minutes left in the first half and finished the hat trick with nine minutes left in the game.
Patuxent also received second-half goals from Kenna Tejchman and Dinopoulos.
La Plata (7-5-1) is the top seed in the 2A South Section I bracket and will host fourth-seed St. Charles in a section semifinal scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday.
“It was real exciting. We knew Patuxent has been undefeated and the girls played hard and held them to two goals in the first half,” La Plata head coach Pomie Radcliff said. “It was a big accomplishment to play for the SMAC championship and we are pumped to play in the regional playoffs.”
Patuxent goalkeeper Chloe South did not record any saves in the shutout, while La Plata goalkeeper Taylor Rollins saved 22 shots.
Patuxent’s Mack Dinopoulos and La Plata’s Maddie Moyer battles for possession in Friday’s SMAC championship game at Patuxent High School in Lusby. Patuxent won the game 5- 0.
Patuxent’s Kenna Tejchman goes up field as La Plata’s Sarah Gough trails behind and the defense tries slow her down in Friday’s SMAC championship game. Patuxent won the contest 5-0.