Most Moorestown girls' soccer players, when asked about their head coach, can't help but pause for a second and smile.

"Sometimes we think he's crazy," junior Marie McCool said of coach Bill Mulvihill, this year's Inquirer Coach of the Year in South Jersey girls' soccer.

Mulvihill, a gruff, veteran coach, gives the type of pregame and halftime speeches you see in football movies. He barks at refs and fumes on the sidelines, and, at practice, there's "definitely a lot of running," freshman goalkeeper Carly Blessing said.

On the surface, it's not the type of demeanor one would expect to mesh well with high school girls' soccer players.

"He comes off that way, and he can be that way, trust me," Blessing said. "But, down to the heart, he's a really great guy. He cares so much about this team. And that's a big part of what makes him such an awesome coach."

Mulvihill led his Quakers from an 0-3 start to a 17-5-1 season, a second straight South Jersey Group 3 title, and a second straight state Group 3 title game appearance.

And Blessing's point is clear enough just by spending a couple minutes talking to Mulvihill.

For the second year in a row, Mulvihill was moved to tears while talking about his senior class after a loss in the state final.

"It was an incredible run," Mulvihill said. "It's very rewarding as a coach to see that the girls don't quit. And that's the special thing about coaching: when you have a team that's going to play hard for you every step of the way, every minute of every game."

Once again, the Quakers were underdogs in the state final against Northern Highlands, one of the deepest and most talented teams in the state.

Credit Mulvihill for having his team prepared and confident enough to give the Highlanders as tough a battle as they've had during their current 48-game win streak.

"Going 0-3, no one thought we would make it here," McCool said. "So it was a great feeling for all of us to make it back to the championship. And [Mulvihill] ws a really big part of that.

"Sometimes, we have a love-hate relationship. But, really, we love him and we know he loves us."

Contact Chris Melchiorre at rallysports@phillynews.com.