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Archive for November 13, 2017

Nov. 13, 2017 — A high-stakes game 108 years in the making

It was in early November 1909 when a group of young women hopped off their various carriages or other long-distance conveyances to gather together for a ritual only a very few women of any age were privileged to have known.

And that ritual was interscholastic athletic competition.

Those two schools, Haddonfield (N.J.) Memorial and Moorestown (N.J.) played a home-and-home series in field hockey — the first recorded instances of the sport interscholastically in America.

The teams have played each other over the years, either in the New Jersey Scholastic League or in interleague competition as Moorestown joined the Burlington County Scholastic League, and Haddonfield joined the Colonial Conference.

This evening, however, at Mount Holly Rancocas Valley (N.J.), the two teams meet for the highest stakes they have ever played for since Bess Taylor persuaded the principal at Haddonfield to allow girls to play sports more than a century ago.

For tonight, Haddonfield and Moorestown play in the opening round of the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions.

The T of C is something new for these two sides, despite the two programs’ championship heritage. Combined, Haddonfield and Moorestown have 26 titles between them, but the teams have had only once appearance each in the Tournament of Champions.

The winner of this game gets top-seeded Voorhees Eastern (N.J.), and whichever matchup occurs Wednesday night will be one rife with family conflict. Eastern graduate Lindsay Kocher is the head coach of Haddonfield. And Moorestown is not only Eastern coach Danyle Heilig’s alma mater, but its current field hockey team features a prominent player named Delaney Lawler — Heilig’s niece.

But that’s all for Wednesday. Enjoy tonight’s appetizer.

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