By Anthony Caruso
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/24/14
The tables turned today when Shawnee hosted nearby Moorestown in the South Jersey Group 3 boys’ lacrosse championship.
Last year Shawnee shocked top-seeded Moorestown, 4-3, in double overtime in the same game. But this time, third-seeded Moorestown earned revenge with a 10-9 victory over the top-seeded Renegades.
The win Moorestown (15-7) advances to the State Group 3 title game Wednesday vs. tonight’s Ridgewood-Morriestown winner.
“It’s indescribable,” said Moorestown’s Michael Katz, who had three goals. “Last year we lost to them in overtime. It’s great to beat them on their home turf, as they beat us on our home turf last year. It feels great.”
“Last year, they upset us, so that was tough,” added senior Michael Handlan, who had one goal. “All year, our focus was to get back to this game. We hoped that we could play them again in the final, and we were the lowest seed in the playoffs. We had to travel to Clearview and here, so we dug ourselves into a hole that we were able to get out of. Our goal is not over yet, as we have another game on Wednesday.”
Shawnee (17-1) had fallen behind, 3-1, at halftime and then 4-2 in the third period before going on a 3-0 run capped by Dan Wigley’s goal.
But the Quakers’ Brendan Handlan tied it with over three minutes left in the third quarter and seized a 7-5 lead on two goals by Christian Snodgrass in the final 24 seconds of the period.
Again the Renegades responded as defenseman Curtis Corley made it 7-6 and Michael Shinske tied it with 10 minutes to play.
Moorestown, though, took control as Katz scored with 7:08 left, Robert Kuhn followed two minutes later and Katz scored again with 3:20 to play.
“I took the guy to my left, and I kept my stick tucked in, then I shot it on goal,” Katz said of the game-winner. “Fortunately for us, it went in the net.”
Shawnee got within 10-9 on late goals by David Smith (three goals) and Steven Boyle (31 seconds left) and had a chance to tie it, but Moorestown and freshman goalie Andrew Helfman held.
“It’s pretty cool to win this with my brother,” said Brendan Handlan, Michael’s twin brother. “It’s going to feel better if we’ll win it on Wednesday. It’s cool that we got to play together here, and at Delaware, too, over the next four years.
“It’s awesome winning it with him. My freshman year, he was on varsity when they last won it all. Since then, I was hoping that we could win it together one day, and that day has come.”
Michael Handlan said that Moorestown’s tough non-league schedule paid dividends.
“It came down to the pressure of our schedule,” he said. “We knew we had the tougher schedule over Shawnee, as they really only had one challenge this season in the team (Salesianum School) from Delaware, while we had tough opponents almost every game.
“We’re battle tested, and we wanted to punch them in the mouth early. We knew if we did that, they would have a hard time coming back.”
Brendan Handlan said Helfman was a key in goal.
“Andrew played a sick game,” he said. “After every goal that he led up, he got focused again and hates to give up goals. He made a lot of key saves for us, especially at the end of the game. He’s a good player, and when he’s focused, it’s hard for anybody to beat him.”
Moorestown coach Baron Wallenhust said his team still has work to do.
“It was a great game, but this was our next step to getting to the finals,” he said. “That’s what our main goal is. We’ve talked about that all year. This was just another game on our journey to the finals to be honest with you.”
Moorestown 10, Shawnee 9
Shawnee 1 4 0 4 -9
Moorestown 3 3 0 4 -10
Mike Shinke 1g, 2a
Kyle Borbi 1g
Jack Tyrrell 1g
David Smith 3g
Steven Boyle 1g, 2a
Cirtis Corley 1g, 1a
Dan Wigley 1g, 2a
Reece Tursi 12 saves
Mike Katz 3g
Michael Handlan 1g
Robert Kuhn 1g
Christian Snodgrass 2g, 1a
Tristan Spore 1g
Brendan Handlan 1g
Michael Kuhn 1g