Lenape was leader of the pack The Indians unfurled a 17-game winning streak on the way to becoming the year's top team.

Posted: December 05, 2001

Lenape started out this past season by losing its first game under first-year coach Sue Burns. But things quickly improved for the Indians. They established dominance by winning their next 17 games and established themselves as The Inquirer's South Jersey girls' soccer team of the year.

Lenape won the Olympic Conference American Division title for the third straight year and advanced to the South Jersey Group 4 final before losing to Brick Memorial, 2-1.

Along the way, the Indians were led by one of the best scoring duos in South Jersey, with junior Jamie Weist and senior Lisa Genna combining for 35 goals. Among their victories were two over second-ranked Shawnee and one over No. 3 Washington Township, a team they split two games with.

The Indians went 5-1 in one-goal games, and senior Katie Grillo, who was injured late in the season, anchored a defense that registered 11 shutouts.

Lenape finished as The Inquirer's No. 1-ranked team for the second consecutive season. With Weist and Jamie Kunkel, a freshman this season, leading the way, it should be a contender for the top spot again next season.

Coach of the year. Few coaches can outwork Moorestown's Bill Mulvihill, and not many have been able to beat his team.

This season, the Quakers went 17-3 and won their fourth straight Burlington County League Liberty Division title while finishing No. 5 in the Inquirer rankings. They put on an offensive clinic in beating Delran, 3-0, to win the South Jersey Group 2 championship - their first sectional title since 1995.

Among Moorestown's strengths is its ability to score off set pieces, an ability Mulvihill's team are renowned for. Mulvihill relies on a defensive-oriented system, but Moorestown became a more explosive offensive team this year. In their three South Jersey playoff wins, the Quakers totaled 10 goals. Of course, the team never abandoned its tight defensive approach, allowing just eight goals all season.

Mulvilhill, a former men's assistant coach at Rowan, is 73-17-7 with four division titles and a sectional championship in five seasons. His teams are always physically and mentally tough, taking on the personality of his personality.

Game of the year. Both Washington Township and Shawnee entered the South Jersey Coaches Tournament with the chance to prove itself the best team not to win a South Jersey title. As it turns out - and maybe fittingly - they tied, 1-1, and ended up sharing the championship due to a 1-1 tie.

Dana Brandt gave Shawnee a 1-0 lead, but Township answered with a goal by Jen Evans, who scored as many big goals as any player in South Jersey.

Both teams played like champions. As it turns out, both were in this instance.

Newcomer of the year. With everybody focused on Lindsey Finnegan, South Jersey's leading scorer, Gloucester Catholic needed to come up with a complimentary scorer. Enter freshman midfielder Mandy Moraca. With breathtaking ball skills and a rocket shot, Moraca burst on the scene with 17 goals as the Rams won the Tri-County Classic Division and South Jersey Parochial B titles.

Upset of the year. Deptford, which had struggled early in the season, hit its stride after the first month. The Spartans' signature win was a 1-0 victory over Gloucester Catholic on Oct. 22. At that time, Catholic was unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in South Jersey.

Deptford, which finished 13-5-1, got an outstanding performance from goalie Marlyn Koneful, who made 23 saves. Kim Lisun scored the Spartans' goal.

Most pleasant surprise. Pennsville was seeded just sixth in the South Jersey Group 1 playoff field, but once the tournament began, the Eagles became world-beaters. They earned a spot in the state Group 1 final by outscoring their opponents by 14-1 in their first four playoff games.

Led by sophomore Lindsay Hitchner and senior Amy Coker, the Eagles hit their peak at the right time. They ended up losing to Glen Ridge, 3-1, in the state Group 1 final but should take consolation in having been the only public-school team from the seven-county South Jersey area to reach a state title game.

Worst break. Haddonfield scored two goals in the final two minutes of its season finale to tie visiting Audubon, 3-3, on Nov. 5. Because of darkness, the game was called at the end of regulation instead of going to overtime. Haddonfield, which needed a win to share the Colonial Conference title with West Deptford, fell one point short.

Marc Narducci's e-mail address is mnarducci@phillynews.com.

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