Oak Knoll Lacrosse Wins 9th-Straight State Title

Photo Courtesy of NJ.com

In an exhilarating NJSIAA Non-Public A Tournament lacrosse final on June 6, 2024, No. 3 Oak Knoll triumphed over No. 7 Pingry 14-11, securing their ninth consecutive state title.

Entering the fourth quarter tied 11-11, the Royals staged an impressive comeback, ending the season with a 21-4 record. Their journey to the finals included decisive victories over Paul VI High School (19-6) and Notre Dame (15-7).

Despite an earlier setback in the Union County Tournament final against Summit, losing 11-3, the team’s resilience shone through. Head Coach Gianna Sgroi attributed their success to strong team chemistry and leadership. “With so many young players, there were a ton of teaching and learning moments that the girls were able to embrace and bring out of each other, especially after our tough loss,” she said.

Bouncing back, the Royals clinched their seventh-straight Prep A Championship with a 9-8 rally against Kent Place.

The team’s service project with the Casey Powell World Lacrosse Foundation, where they adopted Bowen Harbuck, a young player facing severe illness, played a crucial role in fostering unity.

“Because the girls chose to play for him and something bigger than ourselves, we were able to find a perspective that we are blessed and should be grateful for every minute together,” Sgroi noted. “In tough times, we leaned on our relationship with Bowen, and it was a game changer for us to find a way out of adversity,”

The Royals’ legacy of excellence is deeply rooted in their sense of community, service, and spirit.

“We are really connected with our faith,” Sgroi said, referencing the team’s weekly “spiritual primers,” where they talk about their connection with God. “We share Bible quotes and stories that relate to us as athletes and just as people going through life,” she said. “The girls really embrace this and I believe it’s the sole reason we find success year in and year out.

Looking ahead, Sgroi is optimistic about the next season, praising the young players’ growth, commitment, and potential and their position for future success.