By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/14/12
Moorestown is the No. 1 team in the final Phillylacrosse.com Girls’ Rankings.
The Quakers went 26-0 and capped a brilliant season by defeating Chatham, 12-11, to claim the New Jersey Tournament of Champions. The T of C pits all four Group champs, so Moorestown is a true state champion in a state considered by all to be a major hotbed.
In this, our first year of including South Jersey teams in the rankings, it was not easy to gauge the levels of some teams vs. PA squads. But any lax follower should be aware of the remarkable success of Moorestown, which also defeated eventual PIAA runner-up Strath Haven, District 1 third-place finisher Harriton and Suburban One National champion Council Rock North.
Moorestown was ranked No. 2 in every national poll, behind only McDonogh (Md.), which went 18-0 and has a 69-game win streak. Moorestown’s 26-0 mark is equally impressive; what’s more this was the 18th time Moorestown won the Tournament of Champions. The Quakers won the crown for 10 straight years from 2000-09 and in the previous 13 years the program has finished # 12, # 5, # 1, # 1, # 3, # 2, # 3, # 2, # 4, # 5, # 7, # 5 and # 10 nationally.
Moving to PA, Garnet Valley was again the PIAA champion after a dramatic 10-9 come-from-behind victory Saturday over Strath Haven. The Jaguars repeated in style, winning four games in a row in states against state powers Manheim Township, Radnor, Harriton and Strath Haven by no more than two goals in each game.
Another end-of-year congrats goes to Strath Haven, which in this writer’s mind was the most fascinating story of the year for recovering from a 1-5 start to make it to overtime in the state finals.
It must be noted that teams from northern Delaware were considered for these rankings. Cape Henlopen, the Delaware state champion with an 18-0 mark, is not in northern Delaware but deserves special mention for an undefeated season that included a victory over No. 9 Episcopal Academy.
The final rankings are based on overall record, strength of schedule and playoff success, with state playoffs having the most bearing.
Phillylacrosse.com Final Girls’ Rankings:
1, Moorestown, NJ (26-0) – The Quakers defeated Chatham, 12-11, for their 18th Tournament of Champions crown. McDonogh may be the top program in the nation so far this decade, but in this century nobody comes close. Prev: No. 1
2, Garnet Valley (24-3) – The Jaguars won their second straight PIAA championship by rallying from an 8-3 deficit late in the second half to topple Strath Haven, 10-9. Going back-to-back against that draw at states was a significant accomplishment. Prev: No. 5
3, Radnor (21-5) - The Red Raiders won the District 1 crown and returned to grace as an elite team. Prev: No. 2
4, Harriton (20-5) – The Rams, with a very young team, had a tough second-round draw in states and suffered a heartbreaking 12-11 loss to Garnet Valley. They placed third in District 1. Prev: No. 4
5. Strath Haven (17-10) – The Panthers were the story of the post-season, coming out of the rugged Central League as the No. 5 seed to advance all the way to the state finals where they dropped a heartbreaking 10-9 overtime loss to Garnet Valley. Prev: No. 3
6, Shawnee, NJ (17-3) – The Renegades were defeated by Moorestown, 19-8, in the South Jersey Group III title game. Their only losses this year were to Moorestown (twice) and Ridgewood (two-time defending state champion). Let’s see them play some PA teams, please! Prev: No. 8
7, Conestoga (16-9) – The Pioneers advanced to the District 1 finals and handed Great Valley its only two losses. Prev: No. 6
8, Great Valley (22-2) - The Patriots were undefeated Ches-Mont League champions. Prev: No. 7
9, Episcopal Academy (16-6) – The Churchwomen tied for their eighth straight Inter-Ac championship (with Notre Dame) and then avenged a 18-11 loss to the Fighting Irish by handing them a 9-7 loss in the PA Independent Schools tourney. Prev: No. 9
10, Notre Dame (20-3) - The Fighting Irish won a share of their first Inter-Ac League title with Episcopal Academy and also beat Radnor. Prev: No. 10
11, Hatboro-Horsham (19-5)
12, Clearview Regional, NJ (17-5)
13, Springfield-Delco (17-6)
14, Archbishop Carroll (13-9)
15, Washington Township, NJ (13-6)
16, Upper Dublin (16-4)
17, Council Rock North (15-4)
18, North Penn (14-6)
19, Boyertown (17-5)
20, Lenape, NJ (14-3)
21, Henderson (17-3)
22, Merion Mercy (17-3)
23. Eastern, NJ (10-7)
24. Downingtown East (10-9)
25. (tie) Germantown Academy (17-7)
25. (tie) Unionville (12-6-1)