Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgewood Wins Going by the Books

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgewood Wins Going by the Books

Article excerpt

On the bus rides back from road games, senior standout Hailey Ricciardi and her Ridgewood soccer teammates often are more focused on schoolwork than teamwork.

Those 15- to 45-minute study sessions can mean the difference between getting an "A" or "B" on the next test and earning honors in the next report card.

Ridgewood's varsity again has been honored by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America for excellence in the classroom. The NSCAA recognizes teams with a collective grade-point average of 3.25 or higher. Ricciardi and last year's Maroons earned a 3.5.

Ridgewood (10-3) is excelling on the pitch as well as in the classroom, as it is ranked No. 2 in The Record girls soccer Top 25. The Maroons will play 11th-seeded Pascack Valley on Sunday in the Bergen County quarterfinals. They have reached the tournament semifinals in each of the past three years.

"The team does really well together," said senior Emma LaFrance, who is committed to Lafayette. "And because a lot of us are in the same classes, it really helps us to come to soccer, and we'll still talk about what happened in school, and then go manage our time so we can deal with it."

Ridgewood was among 387 boys and girls soccer teams nationwide to be honored for the 2015-16 academic year. Longtime coach Jeff Yearing said the Maroons have made the list every year but one since it was introduced in the late 1990s by the NSCAA.

"I think the team, the teachers and Yearing do a great job of emphasizing student-athletes," Ricciardi said, "so we know the classroom comes first."

"They're very academically oriented," Yearing said. "We were at a game [this season], and they were all concerned because they had to get back and study for their tests."

Ricciardi and her teammates said time on the team bus has included memorizing vocabulary words with flash cards, reading and highlighting short stories and reviewing notes for a psychology test. …

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