Autumn is here and with it brings the start of a new school year and the opening of the fall athletic seasons for the and .
Patch takes a look at the soccer, volleyball, field hockey, tennis and cross country teams at both high school.
Coming off of a dream season where the Lady Hawks picked up a Big North Patriot title, and championships in 2011 will not be an easy task to repeat. River Dell lost some of its height with Kate Brock and Emily Wilts heading off to college, but the majority of the team does remain with starters senior H/MB Mary Maccabee, junior S Kalette deMarrais, senior H/L Lindsay Clark and sophomore H/M Jennifer Desplat taking the court again. Also keep an eye on Laura Oh, Christine Desplat and Sarah Recanati to come up with some impressive plays.
Head coach Dianne Furusawa is currently eight wins away from reaching 300 total wins. She is already the most winningest volleyball coach at River Dell.
The Lady Hawks are coming off a 10-6-2 season where they lost in heartbreaking fashion to arch rival Ramsey once again in the state tournament but the squad in its 10th year under head coach Steve Grenz is returning almost the entire team. Leading the team will be Seton Hall-bound midfielder Frankie Maier who can score from any where on the pitch and will be joined by forwards Jamie Woods and Bridget Tracy and midfielders Paige Fernandez and Noreen Bryne. Both Bryne and Tracy broke onto the Hawks scene as freshmen where they dominated last season. Defensively, the Lady Hawks will rely on returning goalie Toni-Ann McAndrews, stopper Kayla McGovern and defender Payton Wagmeister.
Boys soccer has struggled the past few years and is hoping that under new leadership by John Graham can help return the Golden Hawks to its glorious days. The former head coach at Dickinson in Jersey City inherits a squad full of seniors and juniors, who went 6-9-1 in 2011, starting with midfielders Anthony Sare and Brett Lubben, goalie David Sorkenn, forwards Zac Hubner and Nick Shanman and defender Chris Vandeweghe.
Last year, Bergen Catholic coach Rui Dos Santos termed the Crusaders "consistently inconsistent" as the team went 10-9-1 even though they were led by a strong core of underclassmen. Travis Nitti, Erick Alonso and Alex Lorenzo will once again return to the front lines, but Shaya Behboodi is one of the few Crusaders returning to the back line. Defensively, Dos Santos and BC will need their newest crop of underclassmen to step up and fill the inexperienced gaps.
River Dell has continued to make great strides in a difficult Northeast Division 1 over the years and appeared in the state tournament the past two seasons. Fifth year coach Jessica Rickershauser is still seeking the right chemistry in the front line and she may have found it in junior forward Catherine Antonelli, senior midfielder/defender Chloe Sneyer and midfielder Meghan Ennis. Goal tending duties will be picked up by Emily Rizzo this season.
The Lady Hawks are predicted to be somewhere in the middle of the pack this year after the past two seasons of setbacks. A trio of seniors Celyne Moh, Hayley Read and Sarah Mironov could be just what head coach Cathy Boccieri needs to bolster a team seeking a winning year.
River Dell has struggled to put together a complete roster for the past few years but under new head coach and River Dell alum Briana Bayersdorfer, the team should begin setting the tone for its incoming underclassmen who will be guided by a number of seniors.
Returning runners include senior girls Mariza Wozniak and Melissa Gibbons, junior Emily Croon quist and senior boys Stefan Schuster and Tim Olson. Rounding out the boys side will be sophomores Steven Schuffenbauer, Ed Yoon, and Matt Guido and freshman Will Daly.
Bergen Catholic has a new coach this season with taking over the reigns and will oversee the Crusaders and IHA together. Senior Mike Whalen and sophomore Mike Sondej will anchor the 2012 campaign.