The only constant Saturday afternoon at the Wesley Bishop turf field in Moorestown was the wind - persistent, freezing, and blowing in the same direction, toward the same net, for the entire game.
Whichever team had the wind in its favor, had momentum in its favor.
When it was over, the Moorestown girls' lacrosse team walked away a 5-3 winner over Mountain Lakes, the defending state Group 1 champion.
And though the box score might suggest otherwise, the Quakers shone brightest in the second half. They were outscored 2-0, but spent the half fighting off a relentless attack by the Lakers, who were mounting a comeback with the wind to their backs.
"Defense won the game for us today," said senior midfielder Quinn Nicolai. "Going against the wind was not easy. It's hard to hear, it's hard to communicate, and communication is everything in games like this.
"But nobody got frustrated, we all just played as hard as we possibly could."
The Quakers improved to 2-0 and have won 79 straight overall. They weren't quite in midseason form, but the game was a clear sign that Moorestown, the three-time defending Tournament of Champions winner, is still a force despite losing one of the top high school senior classes in the nation last year.
"This really sends a message," Nicolai said. "We're ready - we're ready to come out and have a strong season."
Nicolai led Moorestown with two goals, both of which came during a 3-0 run in the final 4 minutes, 33 seconds of the first half.
Moorestown dominated possession in the first half, scoring five unanswered goals after Mountain Lakes (0-2) struck first with 22:28 left in the half.
The Quakers' first-half lead would have been even larger had it not been for some tough saves by Mountain Lakes goalie Julie Krupnick (eight saves).
"She's a special player for us," said Mountain Lakes coach Jen Topakas.
The game completely turned in the second half, as Mountain Lakes took over with the weather in its favor. Seven of the game's eight goals were scored in the same net.
But that number would have certainly been higher if not for a gutsy performance by the Quakers defense.
"I was very happy with the way we were aggressive all over the field, the intensity that we came out with," said Moorestown coach Deanna Knobloch. "It was a great learning curve for us. It's only our second game, so obviously we have a lot to learn and a lot to build on, but I was very proud of our effort today."
Moorestown 5 0 - 5
Mountain Lakes 1 2 - 3
Goals: M-Quinn Nicolai 2, Abbey Brooks 1, Adriana Pendino 1, Emily Troy 1; ML-Sarah Bedard 2, Natalie Labeau 1.
Saves: M-Jessica Goralski 4; ML-Julie Krupnick 8.