Lenape Crowned SJCA Champ For 8th Year

by Marc Narducci | Nov 5, 2014
Lenape Crowned SJCA Champ For 8th Year Lenape Girls Soccer Crowned SJCA Champ For the Eight Straight Year

The winning keeps happening with such frequency that it is easy to take for granted. One of the top dynasties in South Jersey sports has continued.

The girls soccer program at Lenape earned its eighth straight South Jersey Soccer Coaches Association crown with a 1-0 win over rival Eastern.

Lenape and Eastern have forged one of the best rivalries in South Jersey history. And this year’s could very well have one more chapter.

The Coaches Tournament invites the 16 top South Jersey teams (according to the South Jersey Coaches Association poll) for a single-elimination tournament.

To win the tournament, a team has to earn four often grueling victories. This was the eighth consecutive Coaches Tournament title by Lenape.

During this span, the Indians won seven outright titles and tied for the 2012 crown with Eastern. (Teams that play to a draw in the championship game are named co-champions, just like in the NJSIAA state tournament).

This year Lenape was truly tested in winning. After a 5-1 first round win over Cinnaminson, Lenape then beat Moorestown, 2-1 in overtime to set up a semifinal matchup against district rival Shawnee.

That game was decided by penalty kicks after the teams played to a 1-1 tie through regulation and overtime.

Finally, Lenape won the penalty kick shootout, 5-4, to advance to the final.

And that set the stage for the third meeting of the year between Eastern and Lenape. On opening day, Lenape earned a 2-1 win over Eastern. The teams also played to a 1-1 draw on Oct. 16. Marissa Toploski, who has scored several huge goals this season for Lenape, had the goal for the Indians, while Eastern got a goal from Jaylyn Thompson.

This reporter was at that game and saw Lenape’s Lizzie Kinkler score the game-winner in the 79th minute on an assist from Kenie Wright.

It was a classic Lenape-Eastern game, with both teams playing hard but clean soccer. Both teams showed mutual respect, the byproduct of so many classic matches.

In the Coaches Tournament final, it was again Kinkler, who is a Wake Forest recruit, who made the big play. She scored on a rebound in the 64th minute.

Besides having top-flight players, these teams are guided by two of the best coaches in South Jersey history: Kevin Meder for Lenape and Jamie McGroarty of Eastern.

Before Lenape began its current run of seven consecutive South Jersey Group 4 titles, which has included five state championships, Eastern under McGroarty won state Group 4 champion titles in 2005 and 2006.

And it’s possible that both teams could meet one more time, but it won’t be in the South Jersey Group 4 final. That’s because Lenape is seeded No. 2 and Eastern is No. 3, which means if they win their first two games, then they would meet in the semifinal.

Williamstown is the top seeded South Jersey Group 4 team.

Lenape and Eastern have been so dominant for so long, that it is assumed they will meet in the semifinals. It’s not that easy, especially since Group 4 appears deeper this year.

Still, nobody should bet against it. These two have been the model South Jersey programs, with Lenape again at the top and everybody attempting to earn the Indians' longstanding crown.

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Author: Marc Narducci


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