Pan­thers pound South­ern

Dinopou­los scores five goals as field hockey team reaches 1A South fi­nal

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - By JOHN NISWANDER jniswan­der@somd­news.com

The Patux­ent Pan­thers field hockey team may be the de­fend­ing Class 1A state cham­pi­ons, but that does not stop them from play­ing each game with a tremen­dous amount of focus as the ex­pe­ri­enced team aims to go out on top again this season.

“I have nine se­niors and they re­ally want to push for­ward on this and that is all they have pretty much talked about all year,” Patux­ent head coach Lynn Pow­ell said. “So their focus is pretty laser tight right now.”

The Pan­thers were able to down the vis­it­ing South­ern Bull­dogs from Anne Arun­del County by a score of 8-1 in the Class 1A South Region Sec­tion I fi­nal Mon­day night.

“We knew com­ing out ob­vi­ously South­ern had a good record and had a good season, so we just had to make sure that we came to­gether and passed and re­ally had some unity on the field,” Pow­ell said. “That is what we have

been work­ing on all year. It is start­ing to come to­gether ob­vi­ously.”

Se­nior Mack Dinopou­los scored the first three goals of the game for ei­ther team and added two more in the sec­ond half.

“We went into this game know­ing if we did not win, we would not have any­more games,” Dinopou­los said. “So we were ob­vi­ously pretty hype from that and we usu­ally are.”

The Pan­thers (13-0 over­all), the top seed in Sec­tion I, are at­tempt­ing to reach their third state fi­nal ap­pear­ance in four sea­sons.

“I think we did re­ally good as a team,” Pan­thers se­nior Sa­van­nah Gearhart said. “We def­i­nitely stepped it up a notch. We go into dif­fer­ent phases as we go through the play­offs, and this was phase two.”

Patux­ent is sched­uled to host a fa­mil­iar La Plata War­riors team on Wed­nes­day in the 1A South Region fi­nal. La Plata ad­vanced by edg­ing Lackey 2-1 in the Sec­tion II fi­nal on Kate­lynn Gor­don’s tally with six sec­onds left in reg­u­la­tion.

This game will fea­ture a re­match of the SMAC

cham­pi­onship game in which the Pan­thers blanked the War­riors 7-0 and se­cured the ti­tle.

“We just have to make sure we come out pretty much look­ing at each other,” Pow­ell said. “We pride our­selves on be­ing con­nected on the field and work­ing to­gether and that whole unity sit­u­a­tion.”

Patux­ent led 4-0 at half­time after fresh­man Ri­ley Eells added a late goal with about two min­utes re­main­ing.

“It wasn’t just be­cause I scored the goal, it was be­cause I had the girls

on the field with me to sup­port me and love me,” Eells said. “The ded­i­ca­tion they give to the game and how they make me feel wel­comed re­ally makes the goal twice as bet­ter as it ac­tu­ally is.”

Patux­ent is an ex­pe­ri­enced team with nine se­niors, but get con­tri­bu­tions from play­ers up and down the ros­ter. Fresh­man Abby Al­der­man and ju­nior Zoe El­liott scored the other two goals for the Pan­thers.

“We def­i­nitely stepped it up and had re­ally good passes and played as a team,” Gearhart said.

“We never back down, so I think we are go­ing to have a re­ally good rest of the season. I am ex­cited.”

Com­ing into the game, the Pan­thers had not sur­ren­dered a goal all season.

South­ern, the sec­ond seed in the sec­tion, was able to take some­thing away from the game be­sides the win when se­nior Emily Kissinger found the back of the cage for the first time on Patux­ent all season with just about two min­utes left in the game to end the Pan­thers’ shutout streak.

The Patux­ent Pan­thers hud­dle to­gether dur­ing a time­out in the first half of Mon­day’s 8-1 win over the vis­it­ing South­ern Bull­dogs.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY JOHN NISWANDER

Patux­ent’s Ri­ley Eells, front, and Sa­van­nah Gearhart, left, get ready for the ball to come into play from the side­line in the first half of Mon­day night’s 1A South Region sec­tion fi­nal. The Pan­thers ad­vanced to the region fi­nal with their 8-1 win over the vis­it­ing Bull­dogs.

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