Chris Furze won faceoff after faceoff, racing to the sideline after the Moorestown lacrosse team secured possession.
But the start of the fourth quarter was something different for the Quakers’ faceoff specialist.
“That was awesome,” Furze said after leading the way in Moorestown’s 17-6 victory over Shawnee on Saturday in the South Jersey Group 3 championship game.
An energetic junior, Furze almost always retreats to the sideline after the result of the scrum for possession at midfield.
This time, Furze corralled the ball, raced into the zone and dished to senior Ben Cantwell, who deposited one of his four goals for a 13-4 lead just seven seconds into the final period.
“That was huge,” Cantwell said. “That just kept the momentum going for us.”
Cantwell and junior Connor McDonough each scored four goals and juniors Shane Knobloch and Jack Stewart added three goals apiece for Moorestown (10-9), which advanced to meet North Jersey champion Chatham in Wednesday’s Group 3 state final.
Chris Lyons and Kyle Korchak each scored a pair of goals for Shawnee (15-4).
“We had an amazing season, and it was all because of our seniors,” Shawnee coach Don Green said. “It was their leadership, their hard work, and their love of Shawnee lacrosse.”
Green said Shawnee ran into an “unbelievable team” in Moorestown, which won its third consecutive sectional title.
The Quakers entered the postseason with a 7-9 record after playing their typically demanding schedule. But the benefits of that competition, plus the return to health of senior goalie Gene Martin, who missed the first month with a wrist injury, has the black-and-gold operating at a championship level.
“We’re peaking at the right time,” Cantwell said. “We don’t care what our record is in the regular season, as long as we peak at the end.”
Said Moorestown coach Baron Wallenhurst: “We went through a lot, but we learned from it. We’re finally starting to click.”
Saturday’s game on a clear, warm day at Moorestown’s stadium was a clash of familiar rivals, the sixth time in seven years the teams had met in the sectional final.
Moorestown dominated what was expected to be a tight game, mostly because of Furze’s work in the circle.
Furze won 21 of 26 faceoffs, giving the home team a huge advantage in time of possession.
“Their faceoff man absolutely was the difference-maker,” Green said.
Furze said he’s “not much a field player,” but he saw an opportunity after cleanly winning the faceoff at the start of the fourth quarter.
His pass to Cantwell earned him a rare assist and the cherished opportunity to celebrate on the field with his teammates.
“It makes you want to do a little dance,” Furze said. “It was legendary.”
Shawnee 2 2 0 2 – 6
Moorestown 4 4 4 5 – 17
Goals: S-Kyle Korchak 2, Chris Lyons 2, Grant Pargas, Gavyn Willson. M-Ben Cantwell 4, Connor McDonough 4, Shane Knobloch 3, Jack Stewart 3, Jon Miller, Nick Cataline, Matthew Buckley.