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Phil Anastasia: Who's No. 1?

A second seed was all the motivation the Quakers ever needed.

Great teams usually have to search high and low for motivational material.

The Moorestown girls' lacrosse team found plenty in the top drawer of the bedroom dresser.

The Quakers wore black jerseys in yesterday's South Jersey Group 3 championship game. In this case, the clothes made the girls.

"We wanted revenge for being the No. 2 seed," Moorestown senior attack Bridget Callahan said after the Quakers dominated rival Shawnee by a 17-3 score. "We were so fired up. We wanted to take it to them, right from the start of the game."

The black jerseys meant the Quakers were the visiting team, the lower seed, the underdog - at least according to the computer rankings at LaxPower, the online site used by the NJSIAA to determine seedings for the state tournament.

Never mind that Moorestown is the eight-time defending state champion.

Or that the Quakers have won 186 games in a row against New Jersey opponents.

For some reason - maybe it was because Moorestown lost to Virginia power St. Stephens and St. Agnes, maybe it was because Shawnee was undefeated and had quality wins against Pennsylvania powers Archbishop Carroll and Springfield (Delco) - the computer ranked the Renegades ahead of the Quakers.

"There were a lot of motivating factors for this game," Moorestown coach Deanna Knobloch said. "The game being played here - that was definitely one of them."

It's funny. Some people thought this game was a setup: Shawnee finally was going to beat Moorestown. The Renegades had the home-field advantage. They had the 20-0 record. They had the edge.

In truth, it was a setup the other way. Moorestown was that rarest of teams: an angry defending champion, a dynasty with a chip on its shoulder.

Think of it. How often does a great team get to act as if it gets no respect? How often does a team with a 201-8 record since 2000 get to say, "We'll show them"?

Moorestown had beaten Shawnee 14 times in a row and had eliminated the Renegades from the state tournament 10 years in a row, and still the Quakers were the lower seed.

It was a coach's dream - OK, a coach's secret dream, since nobody admits to liking the idea of perceived disrespect - and Knobloch and her assistants must have pushed all the right buttons, because the Quakers were going 100 m.p.h. from the opening face-off.

"All the talk we heard was that this was the year when Shawnee was going to beat us," said Moorestown junior attack Alyssa Ogle, who scored seven goals. "This was supposed to be their year. And there was the LaxPower stuff and all the things that were being said on the forums.

"Every year, people say Moorestown is going down. Every year, people say Shawnee is going to beat us.

"We wanted to prove we were legit."

Great teams usually have to dig deep for this kind of stuff. Coaches of teams with 185-game, in-state winning streaks and runs of state titles that stretch back to the old millennium, well, they usually have to get as inventive as Thomas Edison.

Knobloch needed only to tell her players to look in the mirror. The rearview mirror. On the drive to Medford.

"It's all mental for us," Knobloch said of her team's play this season. "When we're together, when we're one on the field, we can play great lacrosse."

It was 4-0 in a blink, it was 8-0 at halftime, and it was 12-0 before Shawnee - a team that averaged 17.4 goals in winning its first 20 games - finally scored its first goal of the breezy, sunny afternoon.

Back in black?

Moorestown never went away, no matter what that computer had to say.