As a key player for the Patuxent High School field hockey team, Panthers’ senior Abby Alderman knows the road to the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference title will go through two rival schools that also include teammates on her travel team.

Last Tuesday afternoon in Patuxent’s 12-0 victory over North Point, Alderman recorded three goals including one on a penalty stroke during the latter portion of the first quarter. Patuxent (1-0) will face tougher competition later this fall against longtime county and SMAC foes Northern and Huntingtown, both of which feature numerous travel players.

Alderman, Northern senior Mackenzie Blackwell and Huntingtown senior Hannah Schiemer are among the very best players in the county and the conference, and all three also play for the Uproar 18-under girls’ lacrosse travel squad. Coincidentally, both Alderman and Blackwell have committed to Eastern Michigan University of women’s lacrosse next fall where they will be far more accustomed to being teammates than adversaries. Schiemer has committed to East Stroudsburg University for women’s lacrosse.

“It’s always fun playing against them,” Alderman said of her Uproar teammates. “They’re both such really talented players. Those are really intense games when we face Northern and Huntingtown. I wasn’t really nervous when I took that penalty stroke. I was pretty confident. It’s an intense moment, but you have to be ready when the [official’s] whistle blows.”

Patuxent junior Lilah Shepherd, who scored in the first half and fellow junior teammate Ashley Swann, who scored the game’s final goal with eight minutes remaining, representing two potential future stars for the Panthers. Shepherd is eager for the immediate promise of possible postseason success this fall and again next year when she and Swann are both seniors.

“I thought we played pretty well in transition today,” said Shepherd, who also plays tennis for the school. “We passed the ball well and got all of our teammates involved. I know Abby was going to score on that penalty stroke. She’s so calm and so talented. I haven’t taken one [penalty stroke] yet. I think I can wait until my next year to try that. It looks pretty nerve-racking.”

Patuxent will travel to Northern on Oct. 6 and then to Huntingtown one week later before hosting Leonardtown on Oct. 18. Fittingly, Northern and Huntingtown will face one another in the SMAC regular season finale for both teams on Oct. 20.

Twitter: @TedSoMdNews

Twitter: @TedSoMdNews