The high school girls lacrosse rivalry between Severna Park and Broadneck recently took a unique turn down south in Clemson, South Carolina, as former Bruin Olivia Abe and former Falcon Mallory Martel clashed as captains of their respective collegiate teams.
Last month, the women’s lacrosse team from Clemson University played its first National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) game against the Spartanburg, South Carolina-based Wofford University Terriers.
At the captains’ midfield meeting before the game, the two former Anne Arundel County lacrosse players smiled at each other, shook hands and prepared to resume the “Battle of Ritchie Highway” like they had so many times during their high school careers.
“It was a cool experience,” said Abe, who plays attack for the Terriers. “Clemson had a pregame ceremony and took lots of photos of both teams together as it was an historical game for them. Then, once I shook Mallory’s hand, it was all business from there.”
Martel, a defender for the Clemson Tigers, agreed.
“It was good to see her, and it was very exciting to have our first game as a new program,” she said.
Clemson won the game 23-1, and Abe had the only goal for Wofford.
“My goal wasn’t against Mallory as she turned to defend another player,” Abe said. “Clemson has an unbelievable team with so many fifth-year transfers and very good freshmen players.”
Both players played four years on varsity for their respective high schools and Abe and Martel faced each other numerous times in feeder programs and club lacrosse over the years.
“Mallory is a great defender, very aggressive and skilled,” said Abe about Martel, who became her friend in the latter years of high school.
Abe said, “We really became friends during our recruiting trips. We both flew to Arizona to visit Arizona State, but it was too far for me, but Mallory liked it.”
Martel had many reasons she liked the Sun Devils, because, like Clemson, it was a start-up women’s lacrosse program and in a great conference, the PAC-12.
“It was an awesome opportunity, and the weather was phenomenal,” Martel said.
She also liked the fact that she would be traveling to well-known universities such as USC, Stanford, Oregon, California-Berkeley and Colorado.
As well as Abe and Martel becoming friends on recruiting trips, those journeys enabled their respective parents to become close.
“The first person who greeted me at Clemson was Mallory’s dad, who yelled my name from the stands and had a big smile and wave for me,” Abe said.
Abe chose Wofford because of its scenic campus, small class sizes and new facilities. Wofford has 2,000 students on its campus.
“Everyone says that when an athlete chooses a college, make your decision as if you didn’t play a sport,” said Abe, expressing that she has cherished her time being a Terrier.
Both Abe and Martel have enjoyed outstanding college careers thus far, and being student-athletes, have learned crucial time management skills. Both of their schedules are packed with practice, weightlifting, classes, homework, film study and getting treatment for injuries.
Martel transferred to Clemson because she missed the water, and Clemson offered great academics, support systems and a welcoming coaching staff.
“Because Clemson recruited so many transfers from all over the country as well as highly regarded freshmen, we all met before fall practice and just started hanging out together,” Martel said. “We quickly meshed, and we hope we make Clemson one of the top women’s lacrosse programs in the country.”
Since transferring to Clemson, Martel started an internship in the university’s athletic department. After graduation, Martel plans to stay involved in college athletics and possibly coach.
Abe plans to graduate in May and attend graduate school at Queens College in Charlotte, North Carolina, with the goal of becoming a kindergarten teacher.
Both players are getting into the heart of their lacrosse schedules but will remember that historic day when two Anne Arundel County lacrosse players and former rivals shook hands and battled again for old times’ sake.
“Great female lacrosse players come out of Anne Arundel County, and I am proud of Olivia and glad I was opposing her in my inaugural game at Clemson,” Martel said. “The county produces great women lacrosse players.”
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