Moorestown girls make quick work of state final

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Moorestown's Melanie Becker (left) is covered tightly by Morristown's Lauren Goldhersh during Saturday's Group 3 State Finals held at Kean University in Union, NJ. (Avi Steinhardt/For the Inquirer)

UNION, N.J. - The first five minutes were like watching a video game set on easy.

The reputation of the Moorestown girls' lacrosse team sometimes seems larger than life - but the lore is hard to argue when the Quakers perform as they did Saturday at the start of a 17-4 win over Morristown in the Group 3 state championship at Kean University.

Less than three minutes in, the Quakers were ahead by 3-0. Moorestown won the first three draws, scored on its first three shots and was never without possession.

It was the team's fifth straight state title and eighth in nine years.

"It's a great feeling to win this, it means a lot, but we have bigger goals in mind," said senior midfielder Melanie Becker, alluding to the Tournament of Champions.

Moorestown, the three-time champ, will open the T of C on Wednesday at Monmouth University.

Becker led Moorestown with five goals. Her first goal in the second half made the score 11-1 and put the running clock into effect with 23 minutes, 20 seconds left.

Slow starts had bogged down the Quakers (20-3) for much of this season. It's something the team has focused on correcting. And Saturday was ironclad proof of that hard work paying off.

"This team had a mindset of coming in and - right off the bat - just going after it," said head coach Deanna Knobloch. "At times this year, we've had trouble putting a full game together, but today was a complete team performance."

Adriana Pendino added four goals for Moorestown and Alex O'Donnell had three.

Meghan Siverson led Morristown with two.

When Morristown (15-8) did gain rare possession, Quakers sophomore goalie Jess Goralski again proved why she's one of the state's best young goalies.

"She was amazing," Knobloch said.

Goralski finished with nine saves - several of the near acrobatic variety.

"Watching the offense have such a great start really set the tone for me," Goralski said. "I just want to keep this going and win it for our seniors."

When it was over, Morristown tipped its cap to a legendary program.

"Anybody who talks about New Jersey lacrosse - boys, girls, it doesn't matter - the first name you think of is Moorestown," head coach Evan Mager said. "The coaches, the staff, the way they do things from the youth program on up, it's an amazing thing that they've built and it's awesome to have an opportunity to play against them."

Morristown 1 3 - 4

Moorestown 10 7 - 17

Goals: Morristown-Meghan Siverson 2, Annika Begley 1, Casey O'Brien 1. Moorestown- Melanie Becker 5, Alex O'Donnell 3, Adriana Pendino 4, Abbey Brooks 1, Emily Troy 1, Quinn Nikola 1i, Olivia Alvarez 2.

Saves: Morristown-Amelia Drake 7; Moorestown-Jessica Goralski 9.

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