Fifth-seeded Quakers complete run to the top
Kyle Engel scored two goals as Moorestown defeated No. 2 seed Ridge, 7-3.
WARREN, N.J. - Lacrosse seedings aren't political or based solely on winning percentage.
The Laxpower rankings, which the NJSIAA uses to seed its tournament brackets, are much more sophisticated than that.
They still can be dead wrong.
Take the Moorestown boys' lacrosse team.
The Quakers were the No. 5 seed at the start of the Group 3 tournament.
Now they stand alone as champions.
Senior attack Kyle Engel scored two goals, and sophomore goalie Dan Willis made eight saves Thursday night as Moorestown completed a remarkable run through the Group 3 tournament by beating Ridge, 7-3, in the state title game at Watchung Hills High School.
Senior attack Tim Mouton added a goal and two assists as Moorestown (13-7) advanced to Saturday's semifinals of the Tournament of Champions.
In their last two games, Moorestown beat No. 1 seed Ridgewood and No. 2 seed Ridge by a combined score of 15-5.
"I lost faith in Laxpower," Moorestown coach Baron Wallenhurst joked. "We lost some games early by big scores, but we've been getting better and better. We didn't care [about the No. 5 seed]. We figured we had to beat everyone anyway."
Moorestown got great work from Willis, who made a couple of spectacular saves, as well as long-stick defenders Alex Melekos, Nick Natoli, and Dane Dockey and long-stick middle Sandro Randazzo.
"Those guys were great," Willis said. "They made it easy for me to make those saves."
Willis made back-to-back saves on a pair of close shots by Ridge's Connor Meth and Jason Mertz midway in the third period, moving one Ridge fan to yell, "Hey, goalie, wake up."
Ridge coach Ken Marsh thought Moorestown's defense and goaltending were the key.
"We just couldn't get to him," Marsh said of Willis. "They play such strong, aggressive defense. They pack it in."
Moorestown was able to play a conservative, defensive game because the Quakers broke out to a 3-0 lead. Moulton, Alex Martinelli, and Mike Angeleri scored goals in the first 8 minutes, 23 seconds to set the tone.
After a scoreless second period, Moorestown seized command with three goals in the third period, including a buzzer-beater by senior Chad Gamble off a feed from freshman Mike Handlen.
"It's a greatest feeling in the world," Engel said.
Moorestown 3 0 3 1 – 7
Ridge 1 0 0 2 – 3
Goals: M-Alex Martinelli, Tim Moulton, Mike Angeleri, Kyle Engel 2, Mike Handlen, Chad Gamble; R-Kevin Kelly, Jason Mertz, Connor Meth.
Saves: M-Dan Willis 8; R-TJ Jones 6.