La Plata loses to Patux­ent in SMAC ti­tle game

Pan­thers cap­ture first con­fer­ence ti­tle in 5 years

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

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.

STAFF PHOTO BY AJ MA­SON

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.

STAFF PHOTOS BY AJ MA­SON

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.

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