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Shawnee shocks Moorestown in girls’ lacrosse

Alex Zaugra stopped 21 shots.

Shawnee and Seneca lacrosse players scramble for the ball. Shawnee stopped Moorestown's winning streak. (April Saul / Staff Photographer)
Shawnee and Seneca lacrosse players scramble for the ball. Shawnee stopped Moorestown's winning streak. (April Saul / Staff Photographer)Read more

Alex Zaugra stopped 21 shots.

Kristin Kocher stopped her own heart.

And the Shawnee girls' lacrosse team stopped one of the most impressive winning streaks in the history of South Jersey sports.

Kocher, a junior midfielder, scored with 12.6 seconds on the clock to lift Shawnee to a stunning 7-6 victory over Moorestown on Monday in the championship game of the South Jersey Group 3 girls' lacrosse tournament.

"My heart stopped beating," Kocher said of her reaction to her dramatic goal.

Moorestown (22-1) had won 228 games in a row against New Jersey opponents, dating to a 1999 loss to Summit. The Quakers also had won the last 10 Tournament of Champions titles.

Moorestown, which is No. 1 in the state and No. 3 in the nation in the Laxpower rankings, also had defeated Shawnee in the state tournament in each of the last 12 seasons.

"You come to this game year after year after year and come away with an 'L' and it wears on you," Shawnee coach Janae Zechman said. "We tried some different things. We wanted to be patient and poised and not rush things like we've done in the past."

Shawnee (20-1) advanced to face North Jersey champion Mendham in the Group 3 state title game Thursday at 7 p.m. at Ridge.

Shawnee rallied from a 5-1 deficit early in the second half. Moorestown's lead likely would have been much larger if not for the spectacular play of Zaugra, a junior goalie.

"Their goalie was incredible," Moorestown coach Deanna Knoblauch said. "Shawnee played an incredible game and they deserved to win it."

The outcome was emotional for both teams. Shawnee players piled on top of one another in celebration on the field, while several Moorestown players dropped to the ground in tears.

"It's unbelievable," Zaugra said. "I can't even put it into words."

Shawnee fought back in the second half as senior attack Kristin Mutch scored two goals, the second on a sweet feed from Karlee Dean. The Renegades also got goals from Kocher, junior attack Becky Stiles and sophomore atack Nicole Troost.

Troost's goal gave Shawnee a 6-5 lead with 9 minutes, 17 seconds on the clock. Moorestown pressured Zaugra, who made several strong saves, over the next few minutes before sophomore attack Stephanie Toy tied the score at 6-6 with 2:04 to play.

The game appeared headed to overtime when the right-handed Kocher dodged a defender near the circle, spun through traffic and unleashed left-handed shot that found the back of the net.

"We knew they were strong," Kocher said. "But we prepared for it. We talked about it. We were ready."

Shawnee   1 6 - 7

Moorestown    4 2 - 6

Goals-S: Nicole Troost 2, Kristin Kocher 2, Kristin Mutch 2, Becky Stiles. M: Katrina Martinelli 2, Stephanie Toy 2, Jenna Dougherty, Jenna Slowey.

Saves: S-Alex Zaugra, 21; M-Bridget Bianco, 5.