Cagnina and Vegoda Return for USL W League Season

Written by Michael Lewis

One thing is certain for the Long Island Rough Riders women team – it has the makings of a solid defensive corps.

That’s because the USL W League team has a pair of defensive-minded players back for the 2023 campaign – defender Grace Cagnina and defender-midfielder Alexa Vegoda.

In the USL W League in 2022, the Rough Riders were one of the stingiest defenses in the Metropolitan Division allowing only seven goals in 12 matches. They recorded eight shutouts, including five consecutive clean sheets to finish out the regular season.

Over the past year, Cagnina, a Lindenhurst, N.Y. native, played for three teams last year. Besides the Riders, she competed for the Long Island University side and the Peru Women’s National team. In fact, she started against Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil at 2022 Copa America in Colombia last July.

When she returned to LIU in the fall for her senior campaign, the 5-8 Cagnina made 16 starts over 18 appearances, recording one assist.

Cagnina featured in three games for the Rough Riders in 2022, playing the full 90 minutes in each one.

A defender-midfielder, Vegoda was a stalwart on the backline for Binghamton University as a junior last fall. She started all 18 matches, anchoring a backline that produced five shutouts and a 1.58 goals-against average. The Plainview, N.Y. native was named the squad’s defensive MVP. She also scored four goals and added three assists, scoring twice in the America East championship game.

Vegoda also earned America East first team honors and conference all-academic team honors.

For the Rough Riders last season, the 5-6 Vegoda played in seven games and 450 minutes with an assist.

The team finished the 2022 USL W League season with an 8-2-2 record as runner-up to Morris Elite SC in the Metropolitan Division. They were eliminated in the playoff quarterfinals, dropping a 2-0 decision to Greenville Liberty SC.

The Rough Riders will kick off their season with a home game against the Westchester Flames on Saturday, May 20 at 5:30 p.m. It will be the first game of a doubleheader with the men’s squad, which plays Westchester in the nightcap at 8 p.m.

It will be the first of four doubleheaders with the men’s team.



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