Ridgewood Downs Moorestown in Girls' Lacrosse

After winning a state Tournament of Champions title in 2010, the Ridgewood girls' lacrosse team reaffirmed on Saturday that they're once again the team to beat in New Jersey.

With a 10-8 victory over perennial power Moorestown this weekend, just Moorestown's second loss to an in-state opponent since '99, the Maroons avenged their only defeat in '10, which came at the hands of the Quakers. Saturday's impressive result was also Ridgewood's first-ever victory over the prestigious girls' lacrosse program.

"It was really exciting," Ridgewood head coach Karla Mixon said. "It felt nearly as good as last year's title game. We've been climbing this mountain of trying to beat Moorestown. It's been 10 years now and we were finally able to accomplish the task."

Although the Maroons went on to win the ultimate prize at the end of the '10 season, the team's one blemish came against Moorestown in a April 6 defeat, 10-9. This time around, Ridgewood made sure there wouldn't be any doubts as to where the No. 1 team in the Garden State hails from.

As expected with the state's top two teams going head-to-head, Saturday's contest was mostly a back-and-forth affair. Thanks to a score by Nikki Shapiro midway through the first half, Moorestown opened up a 3-1 edge early before Ridgewood clawed its way back to make the score 4-4 at intermission. Early in the second half, Moorestown matched its biggest lead of the day with three quick strikes to go up 7-5.

"I'm not sure if it was nerves or the overall excitement in the first half, but I think the girls came out and rushed things and forced passes early on, leaving us a bit off balance," Mixon said. "But in the second half, our offensive and defensive units worked really well together, and we capitalized."

Despite facing a slim second-half deficit, the Maroons finally hit their stride. Behind a defensive shutdown and offensive blitz, Ridgewood scored five unanswered goals to post a commanding 10-7 lead with 2:01 remaining en route to the two-goal victory. Before a late tally by the Quakers, the Maroons held their opponent scoreless for more than 20 minutes of action in the second half.

Sammy Giordano led the way for the Maroons with four goals and teammate Jess Miller added three scores. Goalie Isabel Sipple notched 10 saves to lead the Ridgewood defense. Shapiro and teammate Stephanie Toy combined to net five goals in the loss for Moorestown (2-1).

Now with a state championship to its name, a victory over arguably the nation's most dominant lacrosse team, and a current 23-game winning streak, Ridgewood doesn't want to be just a flash in the pan. Rather, the Maroons are hoping to follow in the footsteps of Moorestown and establish themselves as a feared opponent for years to come.

"Every year we try to maintain that strength and that's why we have a lot of our younger players working with the older players," Mixon said. "My hope is that we can continue that consistency for a long time to come."

To contact staff writer Adam Warner, send an e-mail to adam@laxpower.com.


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