The Moorestown High School girls lacrosse team has been known for its hard work and winning ways. On April 6, it was head coach Deanna Knobloch who was celebrated for a big win of her own.
That day, the MHS girls’ lacrosse coach recorded her 500th win when the Quakers defeated Clearview, 15–3.
Knobloch, who was already the state record holder for victories in the sport, has a record of 500–33–4 and has won 14 Tournament of Champions titles in 25 years of coaching.
The Sun asked Knobloch questions about her 500th win, her time as a coach and her hopes for the future.
The Sun: How did you get to where you are today?
Knobloch: I started my playing career right here in Moorestown, first under Denise Westcot in middle school and then under Lynn Schilling in high school. I went on to play at Trenton State College for Sharon Pluger. I changed my major several times in college, but my sophomore year I decided that I wanted to become a physical education teacher and coach. My first coaching job was during my last semester at Trenton State. I was student teaching at West Windsor-Plainsboro South and the middle school in town decided to start a lacrosse program. They asked me to be the coach and I was hooked. Two months later, I was hired to teach, as well as coach the varsity girls lacrosse team at my alma mater, Moorestown High School. The team I was taking over had previously been two time state champions. I was 22 years old and scared to death.
The Sun: What have you learned over the years as a coach?
Knobloch: Wow, I’ve never been asked this. It’s really had to think about it and there is not just one simple answer to this question.
Here are just some of the things I have learned:
I have learned that every year is a new journey and every group of girls is different. What works for a team one season may not necessarily work the following year. As a coach, you have to be willing to adapt and change with each new group of girls that come through.
I have learned that every group of Moorestown players have the same goals every year and those goals are to win and have fun doing it. To me, a successful season is not just based on the number of wins or championships a team has, but also on the memories that were created both on and off the field. If a team works hard, becomes a family and loves one another, they will always look back on the season with pride, regardless of whether or not they held up the TOC trophy at the end.
I have learned that there are so many components to a successful program. Not only do you have to have talented athletes who refuse to accept defeat and dedicated and caring coaches who push the team to reach their potential, but you also need the backing of the school and community as well as the unwavering support of the parents.
I have learned that the hardest part about being a coach would be the look of disappointment in a players eyes when they have not succeeded or played up to their potential. It is gut wrenching to see your players upset — whether it is over a big loss, because they didn’t play well, or maybe because they didn’t play at all.
I have learned that no matter how hard you try, you will never make everyone happy….I have come to accept that it will always be part of the job.
I have learned that I love coaching, that it is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and am so grateful for all that it has given me.
The Sun: What have been some of your favorite moments?
Knobloch: There have been so many wonderful moments over the span of 25 years that there are really too many to list. If I looked back on each season, I’m sure I would have several incredible memories to recall about each one. But if I had to point out my favorite moments, it would be the times spent with the coaches, players and parents, whether we were celebrating a big win, laughing at parties or in the locker room, bonding on our overnight trips or making hysterical end-of-season videos with the coaches.
The Sun: Did you prepare any differently for your 500th win?
Knobloch: We did not prepare any differently. We play to win every game and that is our mindset.
We prepared like we would for any game with intense practices and going over our offensive and defensive sets.
The Sun: How did you feel before the game?
Knobloch: I hope this doesn’t come off as sounding ungrateful, but in all honesty, I just wanted it to be over so we could move on and focus on the next game. I did not want this game to be a “big deal.”
I just wanted it to be like every other game. I knew the team was probably planning on doing something after, but I am not one who enjoys being the center of attention, especially when I am being honored for something I know I did not accomplish on my own.
Those 500 wins were not just mine, but also a part of all the wonderful coaches I have had the privilege of working with over the years, especially my husband, as well as all the talented players who actually played the games.
The Sun: How did you feel winning your 500th game?
Knobloch: So I know I said I did not want any celebration, but when the game ended and the entire team circled around me with flowers and cards, all wearing the same, thoughtfully made t-shirts and singing a heartfelt cheer in unison, I started to cry. It literally was one of the most touching and memorable moments of my coaching career, and I was so grateful to be able to share it with my husband, my daughter, my assistant coaches and the entire 2016 team.
The Sun: What do you hope happens in the future with yourself and the girls lacrosse team?
Knobloch: I hope that KC (her husband) and I continue to enjoy coaching together and coaching our daughter, Kacey, who is a now a sophomore on the team, for as long as we can.
As for the future of MGLAX, whether we are coaching or someone else takes the reins, I hope the team carries on all the long-lasting traditions that have been built over the years.
I hope they continue to win, take pride in wearing the uniform and always remain proud of being a part of the Moorestown girls lacrosse family.