The River Dell Golden Hawks Varsity Girls Lacrosse Team (5-0, 2-0 NJIGLL-American North ) faced off against the Pascack Hills Broncos(1-2, 0-2, NJIGLL-American North) on a hot day with golden sunshine and deep blue skies at River Dell High School in Oradell, New Jersey.
“Pascack Hills is a great program and well coached and they had an incredible season last year,” River Dell Head Coach Jessica Rickershauser noted. “In our league it’s tough and all these games matter we’re prepared for a good matchup and tough game.”
Entering the game, River Dell was unbeaten in four games played while outscoring their opponents handily 37-9. The Golden Hawks were coming off an 11-6, 5-1 NJIGLL-American North) in the 2022 season.
“We’re definitely happy and we still have a lot of work to do and four games into the lacrosse season isn’t a lot,” Head Coach Jessica Rickershauser explained. “We’re just ready for the next challenge and right now getting into league play.” “We’re defending our title crown and we want to make sure we come out and do what we are supposed to every game.”
“It’s a certain point of pride that not many coaches can say they were the first in the program to coach and every year we’re working to be better than the year before and we have so many talented players.” “That’s actually due to our youth lacrosse program which is very strong in Oradell and River Edge communities and we’re getting those players ready to play.” “I teach at the high school and love coaching and we’re proud of the improvements we make every year.”
“My message to the team was to carry the torch and they had a great season last year and year before and we have new faces in new places and it’s hard because you’re used to having elite players and then four years later, they graduate, and you have to start all over again.” “Our message and what we preach is we don’t have stars for that reasons so that next player steps up and everybody is going to accept them to step into a new roll.”
“When you look at our stats right now, we’re spread out and we don’t have anyone scoring 30 goals and that’s what we want and everybody to be on board.” “People are stepping up and getting their little moment to shine and that’s the role they play for us and take whatever we can get, and we make sure they’re successful as possible.”
Despite losing significant goal-scoring production from last season in senior Lauren Gillies leading the team with 82 goals and Ryan Berman tallying 23 goals, senior Nicole Gangemi is off to another strong start after registering 30 goals last year, as well as sophomore Megan Harnett who chipped in with 13.
“We’re super pleased with Megan(Harnett) and her start, Head Coach Jessica Rickershauser described. “Freshman starting on varsity is a tough position and learning our sets and systems and how we run things and our culture while trying to produce simultaneously.” “This year, she’s just so comfortable and switched positions for us and taken on more of a responsibility for us as well in the midfield and still scoring goals, and it’s a tribute to how prepared she was this season.”
“Nikki’s (Nicole Gangemi) is right back to where she started last year and plowing on.” “The nice thing about having the seniors on attack and quite a few of them is they know what we need to do and settle the ball and when they need to go on the run.” “They calm the rest of the team down and get them in the positions they need to be in.”