RUNNEMEDE One ball smashed into the goal with the power of a laser guided smart bomb. The other crossed into the net with the precision of a well placed shot by a skilled sniper.
Together, the goals by junior Alex Lopacinski in the first half and freshman Cade McGrath in the second half Thursday, pushed the Moorestown High School boys soccer team into the next round of the Group 3 South Jersey tournament with a 2-0 win over Triton.
The No. 8 seed Quakers will play No. 4 Seneca in the South Jersey semifinals.
The outcome, aided by the shutout goal keeping of Kevin Muhic, ended an outstanding season for Triton who went into play as the No. 1 seed in Group 3.
“Those kids play together well,” said Moorestown coach Michael Randall of the Triton team. “At the very beginning of the game, the were moving the ball well. They were very quick and very disciplined. But we always talk about how we have to persevere.
“(We want to be) physically in shape and get into (the opposing) benches. If you do that, you can get them to back off a little bit.”
It wasn't long into the game before it became apparent that Moorestown was gradually building up a head of steam. It became equally evident that this was a game in which the first goal would be huge.
The Quakers not only got that goal, but they got it in almost shocking fashion.
After a foul some 45 yards from the Triton goal, Lopacinski rocketed a free kick high over the head of goalie Tyler Booker, who had no chance to make the save.
Lopacinski talked about aiming for a goal. “My coaches were telling me to shoot it -- the goalie isn’t ready,” he said. “Normally I would just play it into the box from there. I was trying to get the distance right, and I just hit it. It feel good off my foot.”
Randall said he and his coaches noticed that Booker was lined up pretty far away from the net and that’s what prompted the Quakers to go for it all on that one shot.
“We saw their goalie was cheating somewhere around the 12,” he said. “We told Alex to put it on goal, and it went right over the keeper’s head. We try to do that often.”
Still the outcome remained in doubt well into the second half until McGrath scored another impressive goal.
The speedy forward picked up the ball just outside of the Moorestown box and drove it the length of the field, slipping the shot past Booker with 18:43 to play.
McGrath showed great foot skills during the run by working his way past two defenders, one near midfield, and one about 25 yards out, clearing the way for his final push to the goal.
“I saw they had most of their players in the box,” McGrath said. “My teammate Vinnie (Caprarola) got the ball to me, and I saw only a couple of players in front of me. Once I beat the last guy I knew I had to shoot."
The goal all but ended the competitive part of the game, but it did not surprise the Moorestown coach .
“That’s Cade,” said Randall. “He’s been doing that all year, and it kind of gave us the cushion we needed.”