RADENTON, Fla. (Via Super Y-League) – Prior to kickoff, the Long Island Rough Riders accentuated the importance of a strong start in their Girls U13 Championship at the 2015 SYL North American Finals.
Two minutes in, Brianna Jablonowski struck to give the side a lead it wouldn’t relinquish as a pair of late goals by Julia Aronov wrapped up a 4-0 victory against SABA NYC and the championship.
“It was actually something we emphasized earlier in the tournament, coming out strong, really taking it to them and playing our game right off the bat,” Rough Riders Coach Meghan Frey said. “The intensity was what we wanted to come out with. We’ve done that well in the last couple of games. We’ve had lots of chances, and luckily we put one away.”
The Rough Riders’ intensity carried much of the play, as they had the better of the midfield battle and managed to effectively bottle up SABA standout Kayleigh Goodrich in the first half. Goodrich had a solid look on goal early in the second half, but her shot drifted just wide of the right post.
Long Island, meanwhile, found success down the flanks regularly, particularly through right winger Samantha Dumont, who put regular pressure on the SABA defense as she looked to get in behind and get service into the penalty area.
Dumont’s movement off the ball was key on Long Island’s second goal, as her darting run inside was found by a good pass from Devon Olive. Dumont controlled well, and rounded the advancing goalkeeper before finishing into the open net to make it 2-0 13 minutes into the second half.
“We’ve been talking about, with our three up top, really working on their movement off the ball,” Frey said. “Before we came down here we talked about it, worked on patterns of what to look for, and most important coordinating with each other. They did a great job working together, knowing when and timing it.”
Aronov then scored twice in four minutes late on to wrap up the victory, as her opportunism put her in the right place at the right time. The first came after a fierce shot by Isabella Praino from 25 yards came back off the crossbar, allowing Aronov to put away the rebound, while the second arrived after Sierra Rosario’s curling shot from the left side of the penalty area to the far corner was well saved, only for Aronov to be on hand to finish.
“I just knew it was important to finish the game off,” Aronov said. “I just felt so good, and having my team congratulate me at the end was just the best feeling.”
The Rough Riders had reached the knockout stage at the North American Finals a year ago, which made their championship this season even sweeter.
“It means a lot,” Aronov said. “We as a team have grown so much. Like last year, to have lost in the semifinals, we just worked so hard to win this one.”
For Frey, the emergence of the confidence within the group over the course of the tournament was an exciting moment as they completed both the regular season and finals undefeated.
“I think Coach Lauren Bishar and I are just more happy for the girls,” Frey said. “I think for them, we’ve always been confident in them. We knew they could do it, we believed in them, and I think the past few games in this tournament they really started believing in themselves more and more. It’s exciting, but it’s more fun for us to see them enjoy it.”