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Ridall earns 500th victory at MPH

Trojans’ soccer coach gets milestone in win over Ludden

Syracuse — On the fourth attempt, Manlius-Pebble Hill’s boys soccer delivered a major milestone for the man who has coached them for 35 years.

Don Ridall reached the 500-win plateau on Monday afternoon when his Trojans, propelled by four first-half goals, beat host Bishop Ludden 6-2 in the OHSL Patriot division opener for both sides.

Ridall is the second soccer coach to get to 500 wins, joining Mount Markham’s Charlie Engel, who is still active and is nearing the 600-win mark.

Ridall began coaching at MPH in 1976. Soon enough, the Trojans established a winning pattern that has rarely abated, culminating when MPH won back-to-back state Class D championships in 2000 and 2001.

When the Trojans won the Section III Class C title a year ago, it got Ridall to 499 wins, but no. 500 had to wait for 10 months after MPH lost in the regional finals to Marathon, dropped its 2011 season opener to East Syracuse-Minoa and saw last Wednesday’s game at Phoenix rained out.

Finally, the sun was out for the game with Ludden. And MPH was not about to make their long-time mentor, who is also the school’s athletic director, wait any longer.

Attacking at will against the Gaelic Knights’ defense, the Trojans put in four unanswered goals in the first half, so that a couple of late tallies from Ludden did not matter.

Richie Medina scored twice to lead a well-balanced offense. Soloman Ochieng and Gerrit Church each had one goal and one assist, while Zain Nizam and Duncan Morrison also put in goals. Wyatt Scott and Adam Feiszli earned assists, too.

When the game ended, several MPH players donned T-shirts that said “500 Wins”, and a cake and banner also commemorated the occasion. Many former MPH players were present, including Luke McKenney, who was on Ridall’s first team in 1976.

The irony was that this milestone was attained right before MPH’s first regular-season encounter with Faith Heritage, its main rival throughout Ridall’s tenure, on Wednesday afternoon.