After the game ended, in typical Moorestown fashion, at least a couple former players were there to greet the Quakers — giving out hugs and congratulating the players and coaches on another win.
As she has throughout her life, Kacey Knobloch soaked it all in.
“That was Melanie Becker. She was one of the best captains we’ve ever had,” she said, pointing to her former teammate, a 2015 graduate of the Moorestown girls’ lacrosse team. “The heart that she had for this team was just insane.”
Knobloch’s parents — Deanna and K.C. — are in their 27th year coaching the Quakers, one of the most close-knit, storied, and outright successful high school programs in the country in any sport.
Kacey wandered the sideline throughout her childhood as Moorestown cemented that legacy, including a 10-year stretch when the team didn’t lose a single game to an instate opponent.
Kacey was around the best teams, idolized the greatest players.
And now it’s her turn.
Kacey Knobloch is in the midst of a stellar senior season. She has 37 goals and 11 assists. She scored four goals on Saturday as her Quakers (14-2) topped host Clearview (9-6), 16-5, on a gloomy afternoon in Mullica Hill.
The most noteworthy part of the game was a 17-minute span in the first half when Moorestown wasn’t dominating — a rarity this season, or any other for that matter.
The Quakers opened the game on a 5-0 tear. They outscored Clearview, 10-1, in the second half.
But for 17 minutes in the first half, Clearview had Moorestown on its heels and outscored the Quakers, 4-1, to enter halftime down just 6-4.
For Kacey, these are the times to apply her 17 years’ worth of watching and learning.
“To be a great leader for Moorestown,” she said, “you have to be able to get into your teammates’ heads. They have to know that you want it as bad as they should want it.”
Kacey’s mom, approaching 600 wins for her career, has always leaned heavily on her senior class to take ownership. This year is no different.
“I did not call a timeout at the end of that first half, because I wanted to let the players deal with it and figure it out,” Deanna Knobloch said. “And I give the team credit. They did figure it out. They stepped up.”
Kacey, a James Madison recruit, described it as a collective effort — every player seemed to wake up at the same time.
“We needed to get back to working as a team,” she said, “That’s how we put it back together — we all just wanted it.”
The Quakers were led by Robin Panzarella’s five goals, while the Pioneers were led by three goals from Dani Paterno.
Seven different players scored goals for Moorestown, underscoring the depth the team has all over the field.
For Kacey, it’s been encouraging. Few have been around as many Tournament of Champions winners as she has. Right now, that’s the only thing missing from her resume. The Quakers won the Group 3 state title in 2015, but the past two seasons, Moorestown has fallen in the state championship to Summit, last year’s game decided by just one goal.
But Kacey said her teammates are determined to change that this year, to add another winning chapter to a historic legacy.
“We all want it so bad,” Kacey said. “It’s my last year that I can fight for something like this.
“And we most definitely have the talent this year.”
Moorestown 6 10 — 16
Clearview 4 1 — 5
Goals: M – Robin Panzarella 5, Kacey Knobloch 4, Kayla Frank 2, Ava Frantz 2, Colette Smith, Cailin Field, Avery Jaffee; C – Dani Paterno 3, Alyssa D’Angelo, Camryn Pennypacker.
Saves: M – Logan Lillie 8; C – Reilly Shaup 5.