Moorestown to put 76-game streak on line

Moorestown's girls' lacrosse team has won 76 games in a row, and on Saturday at 5 p.m., it will play in the Tournament of Champions final against Summit for the overall state crown. The team's seniors have lost only once in their high school careers, when they were freshmen. At left, Tristan McGinley, a team captain, snaps a photo of the squad following their Group 3 championship. Story in Sports, C7.
Moorestown's girls' lacrosse team has won 76 games in a row, and on Saturday at 5 p.m., it will play in the Tournament of Champions final against Summit for the overall state crown. The team's seniors have lost only once in their high school careers, when they were freshmen. At left, Tristan McGinley, a team captain, snaps a photo of the squad following their Group 3 championship. Story in Sports, C7. (CURT HUDSON / For The Inquirer)
Posted: June 08, 2014

The weight of what's at stake is almost too much to think about. A win would mark an accomplishment almost too big to believe.

In other words, it's another typical June game for the Moorestown girls' lacrosse team.

The Quakers will play for the Tournament of Champions title against Summit at 5 p.m. Saturday at Bridgewater Raritan.

Moorestown enters the game on a 76-game winning streak. The team's eight seniors have not lost since their freshman year.

A win Saturday would be the program's 21st de facto overall state title, a fitting end for one of the most successful senior classes that the nation's most successful girls' lacrosse program has fielded.

And a loss? Well, those things are often better left unspoken.

"We don't talk about that," Moorestown coach Deanna Knobloch said of the team's current winning streak. "We don't bring it up. We don't discuss it. It's too much pressure to even bring up.

"In all honesty, the strategy is to go out and play our game right from the start."

The Quakers (25-0) say they're focused solely on the task at hand.

They expect a formidable game from Group 2 champion Summit (21-1), which enters on a 19-game winning streak.

But while Summit is strong and athletic all over the field, the Quakers are the clear favorite.

That's if they don't get in their own way.

Moorestown fell behind early against Mendham in the Group 3 title game and against Lenape in Wednesday's Tournament of Champions semifinals. The Quakers struggled early with turnovers, winning draws, and establishing quality possessions.

They know the same mistakes could be even more costly on such a big stage on Saturday.

"We know Summit is a great team," senior midfielder Marie McCool said. "We just have to come out hard. We can't come out like we did against [Lenape and Mendham], because Summit is just going to take advantage of that."

McCool has not experienced a defeat on a high school lacrosse field since the Tournament of Champions final in her freshman year, when the Quakers lost by one goal to Ridgewood.

She has said she remembers that empty feeling well, and she has spent the last three seasons working hard to avoid experiencing it again, and she and her teammates have been successful 76 straight times.

But none of that will matter on Saturday, and neither will the fact that this is her last game with a group of teammates she has played with virtually her entire life.

When McCool steps on the field Saturday, the mind-set will be simple, the same as it will be for all of her teammates: She'll be focused on winning, and that's it.

"It's bittersweet," McCool said. "I can't believe my four years here is already over. Since this is my last game, I really want to win, and I know we can do it if we play our hardest."


rallysports@phillynews.com

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