For Moorestown coach, T of C title paramount
A win in Saturday's Tournament of Champions final would be the 400th of Deanna Knobloch's career. The Moorestown girls' lacrosse coach has a staggering composite record of 399-28-4 in 20 seasons with the Quakers. The streak includes a 228-game, in-state winning streak, covering 10 consecutive T of C titles, from 2000 to 2009.
A win in Saturday's Tournament of Champions final would be the 400th of Deanna Knobloch's career.
The Moorestown girls' lacrosse coach has a staggering composite record of 399-28-4 in 20 seasons with the Quakers. The streak includes a 228-game, in-state winning streak, covering 10 consecutive T of C titles, from 2000 to 2009.
But good luck getting Knobloch to discuss the milestone.
"I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to think about it," she said. "Everything for me right now is to watch this team win it all."
The Quakers (22-3) will play Ridgewood (22-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Rutgers University for the championship.
Ridgewood is a long, long way from establishing a tradition that comes close to 228 straight in-state victories and 10 straight T of C titles.
But Ridgewood is the defending T of C champion, and Ridgewood is the team that hasn't lost to a New Jersey opponent in almost two full seasons - a streak that includes a 10-8 win over Moorestown on April 9.
Somewhere in the back of the Quakers' minds, this game is about keeping Ridgewood from becoming the next Moorestown.
"This game is where we belong," Knobloch said after her team topped Glen Ridge, 8-4, in the T of C semifinals.
Moorestown's devastating loss to Shawnee in last year's South Jersey Group 3 championship game was the end of an era. While some were looking for a new team to establish dominance in the state, the Quakers never doubted that they would be right back "where they belong" this year.
"It feels great to be back here again, proving ourselves," said the Quakers' top scorer, junior Steph Toy. "No one, outside of the people on this team, thought that we would come back this year and have the season that we've had. So for us to get to this point is amazing. We're just trying to prove everyone wrong."
Ridgewood won the T of C last year, but Moorestown won the teams' matchup, 10-9, early last season.
The two teams have met frequently over the years. And as it is nearly every time they meet, Moorestown is expecting a closely contested game.
"We lost to them earlier this year, but we definitely think that they're beatable," Toy said. "But I think it's going to be a great game."
Ridgewood features a high-powered offense, scoring at least 14 goals in each of its postseason games.
Conversely, Moorestown has allowed double-digit scoring only three times in 25 games this season.
"We're not going to give up easily," Moorestown senior goalie Bridget Bianco said. "This has been our goal all season."