Patux­ent field hockey ad­vances to state fi­nal

Pan­thers beat Cr­is­field, earn an­other shot at state cham­pi­onship

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com

BURTONSVILLE — When time ran out on the first half in Wed­nes­day night’s Class 1A state field hockey semi­fi­nal at Paint Branch High School, Patux­ent could have felt mildly con­tent with a 3-1 lead. But then, the Pan­thers knew bet­ter.

Two sea­sons ago, Patux­ent faced a two-goal deficit at the half of its state semi­fi­nal and ral­lied for the win. So up a pair on the Cr­is­field Crab­bers on Wed­nes­day, the Pan­thers took the field for the game’s fi­nal 30 min­utes know­ing they hadn’t yet earned a thing.

“Two years ago in this same place we were down two goals and ended up win­ning,” Patux­ent head coach Lynn Powell said. “So that was def­i­nitely the speech that was given. Don’t al­low that to hap­pen to us.”

It didn’t. Patux­ent outscored its Som­er­set County op­po­nent again in the sec­ond half to nail down a 5-2 vic­tory and earn a place in the 1A cham­pi­onship game for the sec­ond time in three years. The Pan­thers will play Fran­cis Scott Key of Car­roll County at 1:30 p.m. Satur­day at Wash­ing­ton Col­lege in

Ch­ester­town.

Two years ago, Patux­ent (16-0 over­all) was a young team, driven pri­mar­ily by fresh­men and sopho­mores, when it reached the state fi­nal. Now that group is a ma­ture, ex­pe­ri­enced squad with seven se­niors that has won three straight re­gional cham­pi­onships and knows ex­actly what its in for.

“These girls just play as a team,” Powell said. “They fight for each other all the time. It’s re­ally re­fresh­ing to see how pos­i­tive they con­stantly are with each other. Cheer­ing each other on, mo­ti­vat­ing each other, on the field, off the field, ev­ery­where. I’m proud of them. It was a close 5-2 game. We pretty much never could be on our heels be­cause we knew they would score if we were.”

The Pan­thers never al­lowed Cr­is­field (8-8) to set­tle in, tak­ing an early 1-0 lead on Kenna Te­jch­man’s goal off a penalty cor­ner just 2 min­utes 18 sec­onds in. Later in the half, Ken­dra Scruggs scored twice within a 1:31 span, with both goals as­sisted by Te­jch­man, to in­crease Patux­ent’s lead to 3-0 with 7:52 left in the open­ing half. But the Crab­bers found their way

onto the score­board on Lainie Pruitt’s goal with 2:42 left in the half.

“We al­ways just try to keep go­ing,” Patux­ent’s Olivia O’Dell said. “Yes, they scored, but we couldn’t let that stop us. We couldn’t let that dis­cour­age us. My fresh­man year when we were here we were down 2-0 at the half and came back 4-2. Any­one can come back from any­thing. You just have to be­lieve.”

Ri­ley Fla­nary chipped in a goal for the Pan­thers to push the lead to 4-1 with 18:40 let to play, but Cr­is­field struck back on Madi McDor­man’s goal less than a minute later. But there were to be no ral­lies for the Crab­bers, as less than two min­utes af­ter McDor­man’s tally a hard Mack Dinopou­los shot de­flected off a Cr­is­field stick and into the goal to again in­crease Patux­ent’s edge to three at 5-2.

The Pan­thers’ strong start was vi­tal for them to earn an­other shot at a state cham­pi­onship, ac­cord­ing to Fla­nary.

“I think we re­ally came out with the in­ten­sity that we needed,” she said. “The whole week we’ve been talk­ing about how we needed to come out strong.”

Even though the fi­nal mar­gin looked com­fort­able enough at three goals, Powell never felt like her team had the lux­ury of let­ting off the gas.

“Our de­fense played re­ally well,” Patux­ent’s coach said. “Olivia O’Dell in the cen­ter of the field and Gini Joy def­i­nitely re­cov­ered and stopped a lot of fast breaks, be­cause [Cr­is­field’s An­abelle Mrohs and Pruitt] had stick skills for days. All we could do is just slow them down as much as we could. Of­fen­sively, we just

did what we had to do, which was good. ... I’m happy. I’m happy that this is the group do­ing it. Af­ter knock­ing on the door three times it’s nice to have one more shot be­fore my se­niors grad­u­ate. Win or lose, they get an­other chance and that’s a good thing.”

Patux­ent has fin­ished as a state run­ner-up twice in pro­gram his­tory. Hav­ing an­other shot to bring a state cham­pi­onship tro­phy home is an op­por­tu­nity the Pan­thers cher­ish.

“Since my fresh­man year I’ve been play­ing with my cousin, Kenna Te­jch­man, and since my fresh­man year to her se­nior year we’ve played to­gether,” O’Dell said. “It re­ally means a lot to me and I think our talk­ing and our strength as a fam­ily has re­ally helped us through this whole sea­son.”

“It means so much, es­pe­cially to the seven se­niors,” Fla­nary added. “It’s un­real to be able to go back to the state cham­pi­onship. I went my sopho­more year and we lost. Hav­ing an­other chance at it as a se­nior means the world and I’m glad we can all do it to­gether one last time.”

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

Patux­ent’s field hockey team cel­e­brates af­ter de­feat­ing Cr­is­field 5-2 in the Class 1A state semi­fi­nals at Paint Branch High School on Wed­nes­day night. The Pan­thers ad­vanced to play in Satur­day af­ter­noon’s state fi­nal at Wash­ing­ton Col­lege.

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

Patux­ent’s Kate Ryon, left, sends a pass to Sa­van­nah Gearhart dur­ing the early stages of the Pan­thers’ 5-2 win over Cr­is­field in the Class 1A state semi­fi­nals at Paint Branch High School on Wed­nes­day night.

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