In just Year 2, Rutherford lacrosse is 7-0

Ava Amatucci scored a pair of goals for Rutherford, which improved to 7-0 on the season with a 13-4 win over Paramus Catholic on Friday afternoon.

RUTHERFORD – When starting a new varsity program there are bound to be plenty of growing pains. This is something Rutherford girls’ lacrosse head coach Sherianne Herninko saw first-hand when her team won just one of its 10 games during the Bulldogs’ inaugural season. With the experience gained, there was reason for optimism heading into year two, but with an entire starting lineup comprised of underclassmen how big of a leap the Bulldogs would make was uncertain.

Rutherford has not only improved, but the team has become the biggest surprise story in Bergen County.

Jea Herninko and Maeve Murphy each tallied four goals as Rutherford improved to 7-0 on the season with a 13-4 triumph over Paramus Catholic on Friday afternoon at Tryon Field.

“We felt like this year we’re deserve to be where we are because of the hard work we’ve put into this season,” said Rutherford’s Ava Amatucci. “We had such a tough year last year. But we had a vision of what we could be. We’re moving the ball around really well and our defense has stepped up.”

Paramus Catholic is also a young program looking to grow. The Paladins hung in early and took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Erica Vazquez. The Bulldogs dominated draw controls all game and it helped pull into the lead. Ava Amatucci, Murphy, and Ellie Schmitt scored in a 1:10 span to put the Bulldogs in control.

The Paladins had chances to cut into the lead, but freshman goalie Ava Hernandez was up to the task making a trio of big saves to keep the momentum with Rutherford. Murphy and Herninko scored late in the first half to give the Bulldogs a commanding 9-2 lead.

Erica Vazquez scored two of Paramus Catholic's four goals.

“It’s all about the open player getting the ball and getting the best shot we can,” said Jea Herninko. “We’re a very unselfish team and we’re really locked in. Our team has a lot more assists this year than we did last year. That shows how diverse we are on offense.”

In lacrosse a large lead can evaporate quickly, but that was not to be the case on this afternoon. Rutherford’s defense, led by Alexandra Guzman, did not allow a single shot for the first 14 minutes of the second half as the Bulldogs cruised to a seventh straight win.

The four goals for Murphy, a freshman, and Herninko, a sophomore, were career-highs for Rutherford (7-0). Amatucci netted two goals with Fiona Waller and Catherine Paolazzi each adding one.

Vazquez had two of the four goals for Paramus Catholic (1-4). Mairead Tamayne finished with 11 saves.

Rutherford will get the weekend off before facing its toughest week of the season. The Bulldogs will take on a tough Union Catholic (4-1) squad before taking on Emerson with first place in the NHIGLL-American Central Division at stake. It is a challenge that the Bulldogs did not foresee coming into the season, but one they are happy to take head on now that it is in front of them.

“Our expectations were moderate, it was all about improving,” said Rutherford head coach Sherianne Herninko. “But the girls have really committed to getting better and we got an infusion of freshman talent. The girls have just taken it practice-by-practice, game-by-game. Today we had everything going both offensively and defensively. We’re off a great start so far and we want to keep that momentum going throughout the season.”