By Jim Boyle
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/8/14
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. – With her team trailing, 5-3, to Summit at halftime of the Tournament of Champions final Saturday night, Moorestown’s Marie McCool realized she had to take charge.
“I knew we needed goals, so I needed to go hard, I needed to do something,” said the senior US Lacrosse and Under Armour All-American. “I thought, ‘This is my last half ever of high school lacrosse, so make it a good one.’
“And I’m so proud of every girl on this team. I’m never going to forget my second half of this game.”
McCool memories of the second half will help her smile for years. She scored all four of her goals in the stanza as the Quakers rallied for an 8-6 victory and their third straight TOC championship as well as their third consecutive undefeated season.
Moorestown (26-0), No. 1 in the Phillylacrosse.com and No. 2 in the Brine/TopLaxRecruits Rankings, has won 77 straight games. But the last three have been difficult as the Quakers have been forced to come from behind each time.
In this game, Summit (21-2), the Group 2 champion, took a 5-3 lead with 7:30 to play in the first half on a tally by Sara Szynal (three goals).
The score remained 5-3 until McCool scored her first goal on a free position shot with 20:05 left. Just over a minute later McCool beat several defenders and tied the game before putting her team ahead a minute and a half later with the natural hat trick.
McCool capped off a four-goal run by scoring less than two minutes later to make it 7-5 with 15:53 remaining. Moorestown added an insurance tally from Adriana Pendino (two goals, one assist) on a free position.
Catherine Cordrey ended the 5-0 run for Summit with 12:09 to play, but the Moorestown defense and freshman goalie Jess Goralski (two saves in the second half) as well as a successful stall stifled Summit the rest of the way.
“it’s the best feeling in the world,” said Pendino, a junior. “We’ve been playing since March 7th, so it’s exactly three months and all the hard practices and hard games, the sweat, everything we do, it’s all paid off today.”
“I think this team is like any other team in the nation. I think we have a connection and a bond and we have the most amazing coaching staff all the way down. I wouldn’t rather be on any other team and I think that we will continue the streak [next season].”
Pandino credited McCool for her leadership.
“Someone needed to step up and Marie [McCool] stepped up and I said to myself ‘listen, we’ve got to win this game and someone needs to do what it takes’ and I had to do what I had to do to get it done, challenging, make the passes,” she said. “I had to, transition the ball. I think next year the underclassmen will really step up and those incoming seniors will really lead the team well.”
McCool said her team won by playing together.
“No one was selfish, no one was trying to do everything themselves,” she said. “We were just playing so together as a team from the goalie to the attackers, everyone in the midfield sprinting hard to get that, and then keeping possession at the end was critical.
“I’m just so proud of everyone on this team. We were down at halftime but we came back and we never gave up.”
Moorestown coach Deanna Knobloch said it will be hard to see this senior class leave.:
“I am just so proud of this team and how far they’ve come this season and I give all the credit in the world to this senior class,” she said. “It was up to them to lead this team to the T of C this year and they took the team on their back and turned it into a family, and we’re here because of them.”
Morestown 8, Summit 6
Moorestown 3-5- 8
Marie McCool 4g
Adriana Pendino 2g, 1a
Alex O’Donnell 1g
Kayla Pruitt 1g
Melanie Becker 1 save
Jess Goralski 2 saves
Sara Szynal 3g
Olivia Kelly 2g
Meaghan Celmer 1a
Catherine Cordrey 1g
Kady Glynn 8 saves