The atmosphere was more like a big-time football game.
The stands were packed, most fans were on their feet. The student section was loud.
And with three seconds left in regulation, Haddonfield had a shot to win the game.
“The nerves were there, but you just shut your mind down and watch the ball,” said Moorestown goalie Logan Lillie after she turned away a free-position shot to send the game to overtime where Kayla Frank’s goal sealed a dramatic, 9-8, road win for the Quakers in a meeting of South Jersey’s two top girls’ lacrosse teams.
“This was a fun statement to make today,” Lillie said.
The two teams met for the first time since Moorestown topped Haddonfield, 13-3, in last year’s Tournament of Champions semifinals.
The Bulldawgs, with one of the most highly touted senior classes in the state, demonstrated that they’ve made strides since that lopsided loss. This game was tight throughout. Though Haddonfield never led, Moorestown never held more than a two-goal edge. And if it wasn’t for Lillie’s stop at the end of regulation, Haddonfield would have handed the Quakers their first loss since April 18, 2018.
“It’s a good feeling [to be this close], but I think we can beat them,” said Bulldawgs coach Jess Blake, whose team fell to 5-1. “Our girls weren’t intimidated. They played hard, and they fought until the end. I was proud of them.”
Blake’s daughter, McKenzie, continued to show why she’s one of the state’s most talented and most athletic players.
Just a sophomore, Blake generated three goals and assist. Wayden Ay also scored three for Haddonfield, including the equalizer on a free-position shot with 1:37 left in regulation.
Janey Galski led Moorestown with three goals and an assist.
Blake had two goals, one in each half, reversed as the refs — in two of the game’s more controversial whistles — called shooting space against Moorestown (6-0) as Blake’s shot went in. Haddonfield failed to convert on both ensuing free-position shots, marking two big shifts in a momentum.
Blake was also dominant in the draw circle all game. But Moorestown managed to win the biggest draw of the game to start the overtime period.
Just over a minute into the extra period, Frank made a back-door cut toward the net, took a feed from Ashley Nutt and buried the winning goal, her second of the game.
“Haddonfield has definitely improved over the past few years, it’s almost become a rivalry game for us — so this was exciting,” Frank said.
Though Moorestown coach Colleen Hancox said it wasn’t her team’s best showing, she was happy with the composure the Quakers showed under pressure.
“We know how talented Haddonfield is — they’re very talented,” she said. “Moorestown always has a target on its back and it was amplified by how well [Haddonfield] has improved these last three years. “This is a great win.”
Moorestown 5 3 1— 9
Haddonfield 3 5 0 — 8
Goals: M-Janey Galski 3, Kayla Frank 2, Isa Arvelo, Rylee Brown, Dylan Silar 2; H-Wayden Ay 3, McKenzie Blake 3, Ashley Campo, Caroline Beckett.