There was little question about which was the best boys lacrosse team in South Jersey this season.
Despite mid-season challenges from competitors like Lenape and Shawnee, the Moorestown boys once again proved their dominance.
Moorestown finished with an 18-3 record and went wire-to-wire to be named the No. 1 team in the South Jersey Sports Digest rankings.
Any doubts about where the Quakers stood were answered in the post season.
Moorestown not only won the state Group 3 championship – the only South Jersey boys team to accomplish such a feat – but then went on to play in the Tournament of Champions final.
There, the Quakers lost to perennial state power, Delbarton, but the setback did little to diminish the season. When the year ended, Moorestown was still the only South Jersey boys team ever to win a state championship.
Coach Baron Wallenhurst prepares the team every year to make a championship run, and they are always battle-tested for the post season.
“A lot of it is the competition we play,” said Wallenhurst. “We have to be at a high level every single time. A lot of it is the buy-in we get from the kids. We’re tough. We have high expectations.”
Among the notable wins the Quakers achieved this season was one over No. 2 Shawnee in the South Jersey Group 3 championship game.
Moorestown, which plays only a handful of games against local competition, also defeated No. 4 St. Augustine and No. 6 Seneca.
Shawnee took the No. 2 spot by virtue of a head-to-head win over Lenape late in the regular season.
For a good part of the year, Lenape had only one loss and had signature wins over Shawnee in their first matchup and over St. Augustine. But the Indians ultimately fell short of a Group 4 sectional title with a loss to Montgomery.
No. 4 St. Augustine barely finished the season with a winning record, but the Hermits play a very tough independent school and that has to be taken into account when judging their season.
Bishop Eustace made a late closing run to finish No. 5. The Crusaders began the season 0-2, but then won 16 of their next 18 and gained the South Jersey Non-Public B championship.
It was a tossup between Seneca and Haddonfield for Nos. 6 and 7.
The nod for the higher spot went to Seneca, based on the fact the Golden Eagles defeated Haddonfield back in the first game of the season.
However, Haddonfield had a nice closing run with seven wins it its final eight games. The Bulldawgs were eliminated from the post-season with a one-goal, triple overtime loss.
No. 8 went to Ocean City based on another strong closing run. The Red Raiders opened the season at 0-3, but then won 13 of their last 16.
Mainland comes in at No. 9. The Mustangs were below .500 well into the season, but then won seven straight. They met their match in Shawnee in the Group 3 state tournament.
Clearview rounds out the Top 10. The Pioneers had to settle for a .500 record, but played some good teams along the way. However they never did get that one big signature win.
Final Boys Lacrosse Top 10
1. Moorestown, 18-3, Prev. 1
2. Shawnee, 16-2, 2
3. Lenape, 17-3, 3
4. St. Augustine, 8-8, 4
5. Bishop Eustace, 16-4, 7
6. Seneca, 13-5, 6
7. Haddonfield, 14-7, 5
8. Ocean City, 13-6, 8
9. Mainland, 14-5, 10
10 Clearview, 8-8, 9