Long Island's Dunn, Roccaro help U.S. to U-20 World Cup title

Lindsey Horan, left, celebrate her goal against Mexico Lindsey Horan, left, celebrate her goal against Mexico with teammates Sarah Killion, second left to right, Crystal Dunn and Cari Roccaro during a Concacaf women’s under-20 semifinal soccer match in Panama City. (March 9, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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From the Long Island Championship to the World Cup, Crystal Dunn of Rockville Centre and Cari Roccaro of East Islip now have won both.

Dunn, Newsday's 2009 girls soccer player of the year, and Roccaro, the 2011 player of the year, both started on defense Saturday and helped the United States beat defending champion Germany, 1-0, to win the under-20 women's World Cup at Tokyo National Stadium in Japan.

"It's the most amazing feeling in the world," Roccaro said. "Knowing that the hard work that my team and I had put in for two years has paid off is really such a great feeling.

"I immediately started crying," she said of her postgame reaction. "But it's honestly the best feeling being a world champion."

Dunn -- who led South Side to state titles in 2006, 2007 and 2009 and amassed 46 goals and 35 assists in her high school career -- assisted on the winning, Cup-clinching goal. She beat a defender in the box and found her North Carolina Tar Heels teammate Kealia Ohai, who fired over the keeper, in the 44th minute for the winner. It was the first goal allowed by Germany in the tournament. Goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin made a diving stop on a corner kick in the 88th minute to preserve the win.

Dunn, who couldn't be reached for comment, also played in the 2010 U-20 World Cup in Germany.

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"I saw Crystal making a run and every time she does that, you know she is going to get something in the box," Ohai said. "I sprinted as fast as I could and she got the ball to me and I just squared it."

Dunn, 20, and Roccaro, 18, began training with the national team in January 2011 primarily in California and Florida, and have spent the past month in Japan preparing to add another accomplishment to their illustrious soccer careers.

Roccaro, who scored 16 goals while leading East Islip to a Long Island championship as a freshman in 2008, will now begin her first season at Notre Dame.

The United States -- which beat Nigeria, 2-0, in the semifinals Tuesday -- also won the tournament in 2002 and 2008. But for Long Islanders, and two of the most accomplished soccer players the area has produced, the 2012 win will have some added significance. "It means everything to me to be able to represent my hometown and country," Roccaro said. With AP

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