Moorestown girls reach Tournament of Champions lacrosse final

Posted: June 06, 2012

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - It was an odd atmosphere, but one that has been a staple of the Moorestown girls' lacrosse team:

Semifinals of the Tournament of Champions on an overcast, almost eerie June evening at Monmouth University. The stage was set for drama.

But by halftime, only two points of suspense were left in the game: How many more big-time saves could Quakers goalie Amanda Currell - sick with a fever - muster before the final buzzer?

And how long before Marie McCool, a sophomore, would score her 100th career goal?

"I'm happy that I got it. But my only goal today was to come in here today and win," said McCool, who netted her 100th, her fourth of the game, with 11 minutes, 30 seconds to play. The goal put the Group 3 champion Quakers up by seven goals in a game they went on to win, 14-7, Tuesday against Group 1 champ Glen Ridge.

Moorestown (25-0) moves on to play Group 2 champ Chatham at 5 p.m. Saturday at Kean University.

"It's so exciting," McCool said. "Getting back to the T of C title game is what we've worked so hard for."

McCool is on pace, according to Moorestown coach Deanna Knobloch, to be just the third player in Knobloch's 21-year tenure to score 200 goals. The other two are Steph Toy, a senior who scored her 200th earlier this season and added four to that total Tuesday, and 2005 graduate Margie Curran.

"That's amazing," Knobloch said of McCool's milestone. "Marie is such a phenomenal lacrosse player. She's so smooth. She's fluid. She sprints like a gazelle down the field. She makes it look easy."

Even though it certainly wasn't, the Quakers, too, made it look easy Tuesday. The team methodically jumped out to a 4-0 first-half lead and cruised the rest of the way.

Currell, an increasingly key piece to her team's defense, recorded 13 saves. She shined in the early minutes when Glen Ridge (21-4) established its lengthiest possessions of the game.

"I wasn't expecting to play this well," Currell said. "The defense helped out a lot. I do think that I'm peaking at the right time. But the team has come together perfectly."

Currell stood out in the Quakers' Group 3 championship win over Mendham, when her team won handily despite being killed on draw controls.

Tuesday, Knobloch was pleased with her team's performance, yet still pointed to some flaws in the game - most notable, turnovers.

But Moorestown seamlessly overcame those flaws, again making it look routine against one of the state's best teams.

How?

"The perseverance, the determination to get the ball back, all of that came into play," Knobloch said.

She paused for a second before adding what's probably the essence of her team's success in two-plus decades of leading the Quakers:

"And the thought of losing. That's in the back of all their heads."

Moorestown 5 9 – 14

Glen Ridge 1 6 – 7

Goals: M-Steph Toy 4, Marie McCool 4, Nikki McMonagle 2, Haleigh Dalmass 2, Lindsay Goldblat, Carly Taglienti; GR-Mary Alati 3, Julia Short 2, Caroline Thiele, Lizzie Kolln.

Saves: M-Amanda Currell 13; GR-Lesley Krien 4.


Contact Chris Melchiorre at rallysports@phillynews.com.

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