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Auburndale Rough Riders win state soccer tourney

The Auburndale Rough Riders Girls U14 soccer team won the Under 14 State Cup Saturday with a 1-0 victory over the Kings Park Power at the Rockland Soccer Complex.

The team followed up the championship with another hard-fought win Sunday against the Bay Shore Barracudas, 3-2, in the semifinals of the prestigious Waldbaum’s Cup. The Rough Riders will play in the Waldbaum’s Cup title this weekend.

“Both are really very significant in Long Island Junior Soccer achievements,” said Auburndale head coach Bob Ricciardi. “We’re proud to be state cup winners. We’re also looking forward to being Waldbaum’s champions, as well. Being a state cup winner is one of the great accomplishments of junior soccer. We’re proud of the girls.”

Ricciardi, a Forest Hills resident, has been head coach of the team for four seasons and is assisted by his wife, Laura. Former Trinidad and Tobago national team player Elliot Paul Allen, of Brentwood, L.I., acts as the team’s trainer.

“The accomplishments and devotion of (Allen) brings expertise and vision to these girls, which is rare at any level of soccer training,” Ricciardi said.

The Rough Riders have been on quite a tear since losing their first game of the season, a 3-2 last-minute loss to South Merrick in Long Island Junior Soccer League action. Since the defeat, Auburndale has gone 14 consecutive games without a loss, posting a 12-0-2 record in that span.

After defeating the Southampton Stars, 1-0, to advance to the finals, Auburndale relied on the foot of Bayside resident Alex Black to bring home the state crown, scoring the only goal in the title game.

In the Waldbaum’s semifinal the following day, Colleen Richards, a Long Island Select player and team co-captain, broke a 2-2 tie to help move the team on to the finals. Richards had scored earlier in the game along with one of the team’s other Long Island Select players, Kierstan Donovan.

This is the first time the team has advanced beyond the Waldbaum’s semifinals. They will play the winner of the HBA Tornadoes-Stony Brook Sharks matchup Sunday.

Ricciardi said the team’s success this season can be directly attributed to the support each team member receives.

“Without caring, committed parents, we have no soccer team,” he said.

The Auburndale Rough Riders are: Annalise Baumgaradt, Blanche Berck, Alex Black, Briditte Canatore, Nikki Daddiego, Daniela D’Alessandro, Kiersten Donovan, Rachel Fogel, Kaitlyn Grogan, Marie Hilton, Erin Lombardo, Jen Maura, Katie Mermelstein, Camille Ricciardi, Colleen Richards and Erika Rogawski.

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.

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