Moorestown captures Group 3 crown

Posted: June 01, 2012

FLEMINGTON, N.J. - Amanda Currell waited a long time to see some action on the lacrosse field.

She got more than her share in the Group 3 state title game.

Currell made 13 saves, several of the spectacular variety, to lead Moorestown to a 13-8 victory over Mendham on Thursday at Hunterdon Central.

Haleigh Dalmass scored five goals and Stephanie Toy added three goals and two assists for Moorestown (24-0), which won its 19th state title and 12th in the last 13 years.

Marie McCool and Nikki McMonagle added two goals apiece as Moorestown advanced to face Group 1 state champ Glen Ridge in the Tournament of Champions semifinals at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Monmouth University.

"Amanda kept us in the game," Moorestown coach Deanna Knobloch said. "She was phenomenal."

Said Toy: "Amanda was the best player on the field for us."

Currell needed to be at her best because Mendham controlled possession for much of the game. Mendham held a 17-6 edge in draws.

But Currell and Moorestown's defense, which was led by junior Megan Kelly (five ground balls) and senior Marisa Randazzo, withstood Mendham's huge advantage in attack time.

"It's unheard of to win a game when you have that kind of disadvantage in draws," Knobloch said. "Luckily, everybody stepped up on defense."

Currell was a junior-varsity player and backup through her first three seasons, playing behind star goalie Bridget Bianco, now a freshman at Northwestern.

A senior who has signed to play for Rutgers, Currell has made the most of her first and only season as a starter.

"This is her time, and she's shining," Knobloch said.

Currell said that Moorestown's disadvantage in draws worked in her favor, creating a steady stream of action that kept her focused on the game.

"I don't like games when you don't get any shots," Currell said. "This was probably the most action I've seen. I like it when it's shot after shot. It's so much more fun."

Currell and the Quakers stayed calm when Mendham broke to a 3-0 lead in the first six minutes.

"I told myself we had to get it back," Currell said.

Toy led an early charge, scoring three of the Quakers' first five goals and assisting on another. Moorestown ran off seven straight and received a big boost from McMonagle's goal with two seconds left that provided an 8-5 lead at halftime.

"We just needed to settle down and get back in the game," Toy said of Moorestown's slow start.

Moorestown never solved its problems with draws, so the Quakers never pulled away. They took an 11-6 lead but Mendham cut the margin to 11-8 with 5 minutes, 51 seconds to play before Dalmass scored off a free position and McMonagle scored off a nice feed from McCool to create some breathing room.

One constant for all 50 minutes was the work of the goalie who had watched the Quakers win the Group 3 title in 2011 and the Tournament of Champions in 2009.

"It's so different to be in the middle of it," Currell said. "It's such a connection with my teammates."

Mendham   5 3 – 8

Moorestown   8 5 – 13

Goals: Mend-Aly Messinger 4, Maggie Sinzer 2, Gia Padavano 2; Moor-Haleigh Dalmass 5, Stephanie Toy 3, Marie McCool 2, Nikki McMonagle 2, Carly Taglienti.

Saves: Mend-Abbey Wiczak 4; Moor-Amanda Currell 13.


Contact Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223, panastasia@phillynews.com, or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports

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