RHS Girls Lacrosse Season
Updated: Jul 8
By Jennifer Ersalesi
Photo credits: Janice Guzman and Kelly Lancaster
TIR: The Rutherford High School Girls Lacrosse team had a terrific season this year. To what do you attribute the team's success?
Sherri Herninko: I knew coming into this season that we would have many more wins, but to go undefeated for the large majority of the season was incredible. We had the majority of our team from last year returning, including all of our highest scorers. We almost doubled the size of our program this year, with a few new girls who really added to our success on the field. Maeve Murphy (freshman) stepped in as a midfielder and Ellie Schmitt (junior) as an attacker really added to our offense.
TIR: Do you believe having an off season contributes to the team's success?
SH: The majority of our athletes all play at least one other sport, if not 2. We had a couple of summer sessions last year, and players not in a winter season went for weight training, but our off season is really our athletes playing other sports.
Maya McCosker and Alex Guzman led our defense this year and they dramatically improved. This year we added another Junior, Kari Augusterfer. These three young women are fast, aggressive and communicate well.
Our midfield, Jea Herninko, Maeve Murphy, and Fiona Waller consistently won the draw this season. We controlled the ball offensively so much more this season because of this and our ability to win ground balls. Waller led us with 60 ground balls.
Overall, our offense improved dramatically too. Jea Herninko led us with 40 goals this year. Maeve Murphy, Fiona Waller, Catherine Paolazzi and Ava Amatucci all put up 25 goals or more. We had 100 assists, led by Ellie Schmitt with 23 and Maeve Murphy with 22. We were an all around solid team with great chemistry in the 8m scoring zone. We put up a total of 223 goals as a team this year, and there were only 7 other teams in all of the NJIGLL that put up a few more than we did.
TIR: Which games did you feel were the best this season?
SH: I think our best games were against Emerson and Waldwick. We knew once we beat Tenafly, they would be the two teams to beat in the division. Herninko and Waller combined for 7 of our 11 goals and together scooped up 15 ground balls. We played with the intensity of a championship team. I think we all felt like the division would be ours after that win.
TIR: The team really wanted to make it to states but that ended up being a challenge despite having such an awesome season. Tell us more about that.
SH: Unfortunately, because there are only 2 sections for each Group, (north and south) we did not make it to states, however, we were very close.
TIR: Your daughter, Jea is on the team. How have you seen her improve this season?
SH: Jea led us in draw controls this year and she wins many ground balls in the midfield. Her defense has helped us as well, many players have a hard time getting around her.
TIR: Which players have really improved the most this season?
SH: I think Cate Paolazzi has found her niche in the 8m scoring zone with her placement and shot.
McCosker and Guzman on defense have really taken charge out there, they know who they need to stop and they get the job done with their speed and communication.