Rutherford reached two milestones, securing a division title and a 20-win season. The Bulldogs clinched the NJIC Colonial Division crown with Friday’s 25-9, 25-4 victory over Garfield. They cracked 20 wins for the eighth consecutive year with Saturday’s 25-22, 26-24 win over River Dell in the Bergen tournament Round of 16.
Rutherford (20-3) has been led by senior setter Karolina Kopacz, whose 493 assists are among the state’s leaders. Kopacz’s favorite targets are sophomore middle Jessica Rogers and senior hitter Erin Moss, who each have totaled more than 200 kills and 100 digs.
Rutherford, No. 9 in The Record North Jersey Top 15, faces its toughest test tonight at 6:30 in the Bergen quarterfinals at Old Tappan. The Bulldogs battle All-State senior M Nia Reed and top-ranked Immaculate Heart, which had a 35-game win streak against Garden State foes entering Monday.
In the three other quarterfinals at Old Tappan:
(5) Paramus vs. (4) Old Tappan, today, 5 p.m.: Junior L Olivia Budinich and OT won last month’s battle, 25-20, 25-21, by dominating the final points of each set. Sophomore H Maria Bellinger and Paramus must hang tough during crunch time.
(6) Pascack Valley vs. (3) Demarest, Wednesday, 5 p.m.: Junior S Brooke Runge and Demarest won both division matches against this Big North National rival. Senior H Chrissy Loganchuk and Pascack Valley must raise their game to compete.
(7) Northern Highlands vs. (2) Bogota, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.: All-State senior H Carly O’Sullivan and Bogota play with the grit of a defending champ. Senior H Alex Garrett (school-record 581 kills) and Highlands can challenge by limiting errors.
The semifinals are Friday at 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Old Tappan, with the highest remaining seed playing the late game, and the championship Sunday at 2 p.m. at OT.
PATRIOT DAY: Secaucus can win its fifth consecutive Hudson tournament title at Wednesday’s 8 p.m. final at New Jersey City University in Jersey City. The top-seeded Patriots defeated No. 4 Hudson Catholic, 25-13, 25-13, in Monday’s semifinals and face the semifinal survivor of No. 3 McNair and No. 2 Union City. Junior Julia McClure was stellar last week while leading Secaucus (21-3) to a repeat title in the NJIC Liberty and two county wins. In five matches, McClure totaled 62 kills, 33 digs, 26 service points and 11 blocks.
HARDWORKING HORNET: All-Passaic junior libero Taylor Humes was a quiet standout Saturday while helping Passaic Valley repeat as Passaic tournament titlist. Humes had 29 digs in the 22-25, 25-18, 25-22 win over Wayne Valley and her serve kept the Indians off balance.
SETTING HIGH BAR: Northern Highlands senior S Lily Scanzillo became the school’s all-time leader in assists. Scanzillo had 26 assists in Thursday’s 25-21, 16-25, 25-21 upset over Demarest, raising her total to 1,190 and surpassing the 1,177 by Jenn Forhecz. Scanzillo has 1,237 assists.
CARDINAL RULE: Westwood (20-5) cracked 20 wins for the first time in a decade while earning a share of the Big North Patriot title. Senior Casey Trovini has led with 165 kills, 178 assists, and 44 aces. Junior Ashley Griffith has 278 assists, 103 kills and 44 aces. Senior Darian Henry has 206 digs, and senior Morgan Hans 21 blocks.
CRUSADER CLIMB: Junior H Victoria Stec and junior S Juliana Romero continue to drive Elmwood Park (16-6) toward one of its best seasons in program history. Stec has 305 kills and Romero 432 assists.
QUICKS: The state tournament seeding meeting is Wednesday, play-in games, if necessary, are Monday, and the five state group finals are Nov. 16 at William Paterson in Wayne. … IHA’s Maria Nolan notched her 800th career coaching win with last week’s sweep over Eastside. Nolan earned the first 520 wins at Secaucus and the next 280 as Blue Eagles’ co-coach with Mike DeCastro. … Indian Hills senior S Jewell Smolenski had 15 assists to raise her career total to 923 and five of her team’s nine aces in Saturday’s 25-21, 25-19 loss to Bogota in the Bergen tournament Round of 16.
Ridgefield Park‘s Big North American title represented its fourth consecutive division crown and it has only lost one division game during that stretch. … Bogota can repeat as NJIC Patriot champ with a win today over second-place Cresskill or a win Thursday over Palisades Park. … Standings for the Big North and NJIC can be found on Varsity Aces: northjersey.com/varsityaces.