Lady Quakers ended Shawnee’s winning streak
Every year, there is a high school sports matchup that is a must see event. An event made up of a fierce rivalry, a raucous crowd and big stakes. A game in which the result goes a long way in deciding whether a team had a successful season or a disappointing one. This year, like many other years, Moorestown and Shawnee girls lacrosse has been that matchup.
Deanna Knobloch, coach of the Moorestown Lady Quakers, was comfortable saying “this is one of the biggest rivalries in the history of the sport in New Jersey without question.”
It is tough to argue with Knobloch. Moorestown has won the most state titles with 19. Who is second? Shawnee with seven. The next closest schools have four. Shawnee has appeared in the state finals 22 times; only Moorestown has been to more with 27. Moorestown incredibly won 10 consecutive titles from 2000–09; Shawnee won three consecutive titles twice in the 1990s.
With the success both teams have become accustomed to, the bar is set high every season. “Our girls come in with the goal of being undefeated, to play in the tournament of champions, so yeah, expectations are high,” Knobloch said.
With playoffs beginning May 16, this matchup on Tuesday, May 7 was the perfect barometer of where the teams are and where they may be headed.
Both teams entered the game undefeated, Moorestown 15–0, Shawnee 12–0.
Janae Zechman, coach of the Shawnee Lady Renegades, acknowledged the hype leading up to the game.
“I’m just excited to get this game underway honestly,” Zechman said before the game. “It’s a big game for them and us.”
Played in front of a large crowd, made up of both Moorestown and Shawnee fans, the Lady Renegades jumped out to an early 2–0 lead with both goals coming from junior Caroline Shinske.
The Lady Quakers quickly recovered, tying the score 3–3 at halftime. Moorestown senior Gabby Frank chipped in two second half goals as they outscored Shawnee 5–1 the rest of the way, leading to an 8–4 victory.
Knobloch credited her senior class for the success this year.
“Shannon Keeler does a great job of communicating, of being a leader. Megan Kelly runs our entire defensive unit. It’s honestly difficult for me to single anyone out; the senior class has come together as a whole while underclassmen like Marie McCool
have stepped up in a big way,” she said.
The loss was a setback for Shawnee but will perhaps be the motivation it needs to secure a Group IV title, and hopefully a rematch with its rival at the Tournament of Champions beginning Wednesday, June 5.
The Group III tournament gets underway Thursday, May 16 with Group IV beginning on Friday, May 17.