River Dell's Idiculla wracking up the saves

Hannah Clancy is a River Dell High School senior, a member of the volleyball and lacrosse teams and an intern at northjerseysports.com. The following is her fourth submission for publication.

River Dell junior Samantha Idiculla has made 400 saves in her two years of varsity lacrosse.

ORADELL -- This season, a River Dell lacrosse player reached two milestones in seemingly record time.  Her name is Samantha Idiculla, the RDGLAX junior goalie.  After reaching 300 career saves in the Golden Hawks’ home opener against Newark Academy on Tuesday, April 2; Idiculla recorded her 400th on April 25 in RD’s home game against division rival Ramsey.

To recognize Idiculla for reaching yet another accomplishment, the game briefly paused and the game ball was removed for posterity’s sake. The fans clapped, her teammates cheered and then they went back to work.

At the start of the season, Idiculla came out fiery, ready to reach her goal as she was only about five saves away from reaching 300.  She followed up her electric start, she racked up an additional 100 saves within nine games.

River Dells girls lacrosse head coach Jessica Rickershauser revealed that this was a not just a small accomplishment.  The average saves a goalie gets in four years of playing is 300; Sam is already two seasons ahead of schedule.

Idiculla has been working hard since third grade when she first picked up a stick. She did not start her career as a goalie, but a midfielder, a player that plays both offense and defense. It was not until about fourth or fifth grade when Sam retired her field stick and picked up her goalie stick.

This sudden interest of playing a new position did not come out of nowhere. Growing up, Sam looked up to her older cousin, Kara ­­­Rahaim, who played at Ridgewood high school and was an amazing goalie in her own right. ­­­Rahaim took her lacrosse career past high school and ended up playing college lacrosse at Stanford University. Sam idolized her cousin and the success she had, which drove Sam to want to follow in her footsteps.

As a freshman, Sam could not picture herself getting to where she is today.  

“Going into things I tend to give myself low expectations, so as a freshman I was not sure I was going to make varsity, let alone being the starting goalie.”

This was not only a cool experience for Sam, but she mentioned how being put into this spot challenged her abilities to make her a stronger player and allowed her to meet and come in contact with a lot of influential people that she has learned a lot from. That includes her older teammates who have been playing longer than she has.

Reaching these milestones are not the only goals Sam holds; winning RDGLAX first state title is at the top of her list. Since River Dell’s girls’ lacrosse program started up, the slot under state championships on their banner hangs empty. Idiculla strives to be able to fill up that spot while at River Dell.

Sam does not take all the credit for her hard work and accomplishments. She shares how her father and her had a special connection to this sport. He coached her in her youth years and never once made her hate the sport but grew her love for it. He always made their time playing youth lacrosse enjoyable while teaching her the fundamentals to the game.

To Sam, being a goalie is more than just a body in the goal net, she loves guiding her defense and helping it succeed and being able to save the ball for her team.

To Idiculla, lacrosse is more than a sport. 

“Spending time and working with my teammates and having that bond of being there for each other and being able to work with each other to accomplish our goals together.”

By the end of her career Sam hopes she can reach her goal of 500 saves.   With six more regular season games not including the county and state tournament, some wonder if she’ll hit 500 by June.  Her coaches and teammates have no doubt that she can make it there, and they are ready to help her towards that ambition.