Lyndhurst still perfect after opening round win over River Dell

Lyndhurst sweeper Maggie Fedora set up the game's first goal and the Golden Bears advanced to the Round of 16 of the Bergen County Tournament with a 3-0 win over River Dell on Sunday afternoon.

LYNDHURST – It has been one dominant performance after another for Lyndhurst this season and while it is certainly good news that the Golden Bears have not been tested all season, the bad news might be the same. Lyndhurst had not been tested at all heading into Sunday’s opening round matchup against River Dell squad in the Bergen County Tournament.

River Dell has played a tough schedule, it was not going to give an inch and Lyndhurst’s diverse attack was stagnant through a scoreless first half. Needing to find some sort of spark, the Golden Bears looked to an unlikely source to facilitate the offense.

Sweeper Maggie Fodera won a ball in the back then went on a run through several players before feeding a perfect through ball. Deirdre Kearns ran onto it and scored to open the scoring. Less than two minutes later, Kaydee Yallo buried a free kick as 11th-seeded Lyndhurst advanced to the Round of 16 with a 3-0 win over No. 22 seed River Dell.

“We had a big talk at halftime and figured it out for the second half,” said Fodera. “I knew we had to be a little more aggressive out of the back and attack when we had the chance. We had a good gameplan on what we wanted to do but we had to execute it better than we did in the first half.”

Amanda Lubben had one of River Dell's two shots on goal.

Yallo nearly scored 10 minutes in when she knifed her way through several defenders then ripped a shot off the crossbar. But was the extent of the offense for either side with the teams combining for just four shots on net in the first half. This represented the first true test of the season for the Golden Bears in a big game. They responded with a dominant second half and before long they had the lead for good.

Fodera, one of Bergen County's best back line players, took the space in front of her and showed she is equally as effective moving forward. In the 48th minute, she slipped a through ball into space near the top corner of the box. Kearns ran it down then struck a missile into the side netting inside the far post to put Lyndhurst ahead, 1-0.

“Maggie gave me a great ball and I just had to strike it,” said Kearns. “We really trust each other and our team works well together when we're communicating like we did in the second half. I think we have something special this year.”

Lyndhurst did not give the Hawks a chance to recover as Yallo  lined up a direct kick from 25 yards out. She bent it over the wall and it dipped under the crossbar as the it took just 1:48 for the Golden Bears to break the game open.

Karlee Yallo and Lyndhurst will play Paramus in the Round of 16.

Kayla Carrino, a freshman, had the other goal for Lyndhurst (9-0) and Jessa Dell'Aquila had the assist. Claudia Lapinski needed to make just two saves to earn the shutout.

Elaina Grenz and Amanda Lubben had the lone shots on net for River Dell (4-5-1).

Lyndhurst advances to the Bergen County Tournament's Round of 16 for the fourth time in the past five seasons. However,  the Golden Bears have never made the county quarterfinals and were shut in their three previous Round of 16 games. Facing sixth-seeded Paramus, the Golden Bears are excited for the opportunity to make history and prove that they belong among the top teams in Bergen County.

“Paramus is a really good team and we need to have our heads on straight for the full 80 minutes,” said Fodera. “Our side of the bracket is really strong but we have the ability to keep going. Out of all of the good years we've had at Lyndhurst, this is our year to put it together and make a run.”