After winning its first five games – most with relative ease – Moorestown’s vaunted girls lacrosse program received its first in-state scare of 2019 on the third Saturday of the season at Haddonfield.
The host Bulldawgs overcame a two-goal halftime deficit and were in position to win the game. With three seconds remaining in regulation, they had a free-position shot.
“Oh my God, we’re going to lose,” Moorestown senior Kayla Frank recalled. “I got on the hash mark and I was like, ‘I will literally throw my entire body in front of her so she can’t score.’ I tried to do that, turned and saw she had shot and the ball was on Logan’s stick. Thank God! That was great by Logan.”
Logan Lillie comes up with a huge save at the buzzer on a free position shot and we head to overtime.
Haddonfield 8, Moorestown 8. pic.twitter.com/fLBZn0LAzX
— Brian Deakyne (@BrianDeakyne) April 13, 2019
Logan is fellow Moorestown senior Logan Lillie, the only person who was literally standing between Haddonfield and victory. Seven weeks later, she was in a similar spot in the Group 3 state championship game against Mendham, making back-to-back saves in the final minutes (one on the initial shot, the next on the rebound) to help secure the 24th state title in Moorestown history (and 16th in the last 20 seasons). In the very next game, Lillie turned aside a potential game-tying shot with 30 seconds remaining to help the Quakers hold on for a win over Group 4 state champ Ridgewood, which had beaten Moorestown earlier in the season, in the Tournament of Champion semifinals.
Lillie was widely considered to be the best goalie in the state. She is also South Jersey Sports Weekly’s choice as the Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year.
“It’s an honor,” said Lillie, who first began playing goalie at age 5 and will continue that journey at Northwestern University next season. “Looking around just on our team I can name everyone on the field who is an amazing player. And there are girls at Haddonfield and Shawnee that I respect, too. So it’s just an awesome honor and I’m happy to be getting it.”
While many of Moorestown’s back-to-back state championship seniors could pave a straight line from first learning the game in town as a kid, hearing about the nationally-recognized high school program, and then having the opportunity to play for the Quakers, Lillie had a circuitous path to wearing gold and black. Although she played club as a pre-teen with her current teammates, Lillie grew up in Medford. Before seventh grade, her family moved to Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, a suburb of Charleston.
“I just didn’t like it there, it was a totally different atmosphere,” Lillie said.
After spending four school years in the South, Lillie convinced her parents to let her move back to Jersey. Since the beginning of her junior season, Lillie has lived with Frank’s family.
It was a win-win for Moorestown and their soon-to-be All-State goalie.
In Lillie’s first season as the Quakers goalie, Moorestown ended a rare three-year drought without a state title last spring and also won the Tournament of Champions. Thanks to its clutch goalie, Moorestown won the Group 3 crown again earlier this month.
“I think Logan has a cool confidence that really allows her to stay composed and make the big saves that other goalies might not be able to make,” first-year Moorestown coach Colleen Hancox said. “With goalies, I think sometimes you know whether you should be playing goalie or not. Logan certainly had that calling. You have to be pretty fearless, you have to have eye-hand coordination and good game sense. And I think she’s also confident to come out of the crease. There aren’t many high school goalies like Logan who will fight for a ground ball outside of the crease and maintain possession of the ball when she’s out, too.”
In addition to Moorestown’s postseason run and the early-season win over Haddonfield, Hancox pointed to an out-of-state game against Georgetown Visitation (Washington, D.C.) where Lillie excelled.
“She was really the rock at the back and came up with some huge saves to give us the opportunity to bring the ball down to the attacking end,” Hancox said. “Into the playoffs, once it got into the closer games, Logan really made the saves that we needed to maintain our lead.”
Congratulations to senior goalie Logan Lillie on this well-deserved honor! #lillielillie Under Armour Announces Second Wave of Girls 2019 All-America Lacrosse Game Selections | Inside Lacrosse https://t.co/UIPkVdK4T6
— Moorestown Girls Lacrosse (@mglaxquakers) April 18, 2019
The season wasn’t without challenges for Lillie and the Quakers.
In that Haddonfield game, Frank broke her right index finger and would end up missing a month. Lillie, too, would be sidelined for nearly a month when she battled a midseason concussion.
But both returned in time for the postseason and added another piece of hardware to the program’s overcrowded trophy case.
“These girls had been around in their whole lives, from the time they’re 2 years old they’re looking forward to it and idolizing (Moorestown lacrosse),” Lillie said. “Coming from a place where I was going to go to Shawnee, I definitely looked at them as a rival. Then I was out of state. Coming in and being able to see it from the inside, and experiencing it with these girls, it definitely feels like a family. I know every team says that, but there’s definitely a different vibe here. It’s tradition, and a tradition of winning.”
Over the next two weeks, South Jersey Sports Weekly will be honoring the best
athletes from each of the 10 spring sports as well as the best male and female teams
of the season. The selections were made from a collection of high school athletes
from the 20 towns and approximately two dozen schools within SJSW’s Sun Newspaper coverage area. Each of the Player of the Year and Team of the Year stories will appear in
either the June 19 issue or June 26 issue of South Jersey Sports Weekly.