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Championship aspirations: Troy seeking run to state glory


BY DAN STICKRADT

WEB AND CONTENT EDITOR

C: 248-884-1051

TW: @LocalSportsFans


TROY, Mich. — Despite all of its storied history of championships, Troy has only reached the state finals twice in boys soccer.


Twice over 42 seasons – a Class A state runner-up run back in 1996 in the final year of classifications; and in 2003, the year the Colts stampeded their way to the Division 1 state title. Troy defeated Saline 1-0 in double overtime to end that glorious run.


In many years since its 1981 debut season, the Colts were placed in ridiculously tough districts or regionals and ran into a fellow state powerhouse such as rival Troy Athens, Birmingham Brother Rice, Warren DeLaSalle or a host of others many times.


“It’s never easy winning a league or district around here and if you’re lucky enough to make it to a regional there’s always that one really tough team you have to beat,” noted Troy coach Jim Stachura, who grew up in Troy and attended nearby Madison Heights Bishop Foley. “You can never take for granted when you win a championship or make some type of a run. There’s no guarantees, no matter how much talent you return the next year. Every year is different. And it’s so hard to win in this area.”


Troy has won 17 league championships – 10 in the old Southeastern Michigan Association which disbanded after the 1993-94 school year; and seven more in the OAA Division I/Red Division, which came into existence in the summer of 1994.


Districts have been even harder to come by, as the school has captured just eight districts despite regularly being a top-20 school in Class A/Division 1.


Since Jim Stachura took over the Troy program in 2014, the Colts have made a pair of deep runs and is in the process of trying to make another run to its vision quest – the school’s second state crown.


“It’s amazing to think about it – that Troy with all of its success has only played in the state finals twice,” noted Stachura. “I mean they’ve had some great teams over the years.”


Troy won district and regional titles in 2017 before falling in the state semifinals to Walled Lake Central 1-0 in a shootout. Last year, Troy came back and had another fine season, finishing 18-1-4, winning the OAA Red Division league and Division 1 district titles before falling 3-1in the regional finals to eventual state runner-up New Baltimore Anchor Bay.


This year Troy defended its OAA Red Division championship and captured one of the toughest Division 1 districts last week that featured three top-10 teams, including a 2-1 victory over No. 7 Berkley in a game that reached a shootout (4-3 on penalties).


The top-ranked Colts (18-1-0) have been ranked either first or second in Division 1 this season, trading off with Novi Detroit Catholic Central. They will try to take the next step Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. with a regional semifinal contest at eighth-ranked Rochester Adams (13-1-6). Unranked Fraser and Anchor Bay play in the other semifinal at 7:30 p.m.


Troy is experienced, deep and has talent across the board. There are 16 hungry seniors on the roster, and over 75 percent of the roster is back from last year’s regional finalist side.

Senior forwards John Palamino (All-State First Team last season) and Nick Worrell (All-State Third Team last season) are a pair of Division I college recruits. Worrell entered the postseason with 17 goals and eight assists, while Palamino had five goals and 10 assists. Both contributed additional points in the Colts’ three district wins last week.


Senior attacking midfielder Carter Cusmano, senior holding midfielder James Levitt, senior centerback Kai Dowling, senior midfielder Matthew Matuza, and senior goalkeeper George Hildebrandt all entered the season as returning starters. Senior defensemen Zach Penoza and Lukas Larroquette, junior defenseman/forward Jack Hotts, senior midfielder Jusut Kercishta and sophomore Nahuel Larroquette have also gained plenty of minutes this season.

And the Colts can go even deeper.


“We wanted to defend the OAA-Red this year, and that wasn’t easy with five OAA-Red teams being ranked in the top 10 in the state,” said Stachura. “It’s always one of the toughest leagues in the state every year and this year it was the best league in the state (in the regular season). Berkley, (Troy) Athens, Clarkston, (Rochester) Adams and (Troy) were all very good this year.


“We wanted to win the district (this year) and it was loaded with three ranked teams and a couple of other quality teams in here,” added Stachura. “Now the goal is to try to win the regional this year. Last year we didn’t take care of business losing to Anchor Bay. We didn’t play all that great in that game and Anchor Bay was very good. But it won’t be easy.”


TROY BOYS SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS OVER THE YEARS:


LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS – 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2003, 2010, 2011, 2021, 2022

DISTRICT CHAMPIONSHIPS – 1993, 1994, 1996, 2003, 2008, 2017, 2021, 2022

REGIONAL RUNNER-UP – 1994, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2010

REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – 1996, 2003, 2011, 2017

FINAL FOUR – 1996, 2003, 2011, 2017

STATE FINALS APPEARANCES – 1996, 2003

STATE RUNNER-UP – 1996

STATE CHAMPIONS – 2003


1981: Overall and league (SMA) record not available

1982: Southeastern Michigan Association league champs; overall and league record not available

1983: Southeastern Michigan Association league champs; overall and league record not available

1984: Southeastern Michigan Association league champs; overall and league record not available

1985: Southeastern Michigan Association league champs; overall and league record not available

1986: Southeastern Michigan Association league champs; overall and league record not available

1987: Overall and league (SMA) record not available

1988: Overall and league (SMA) record not available

1989: Southeastern Michigan Association league champs; overall and league record not available

1990: Southeastern Michigan Association league champs; overall and league record not available

1991: Southeastern Michigan Association league champs; overall and league record not available

1992: Southeastern Michigan Association league champs; overall and league record not available

1993: Southeastern Michigan Association league champs; district champs; overall and league record not available

1994: x-x-x, x-x-x OAA Division I; district champs; Class A regional runner-up; overall and league record not available

1995: x-x-x, x-x-x OAA Division I

1996: 19-3-3, x-x-x OAA Division I (first); district champs; regional champs; Final Four; Class A state Runner-Up

1997: x-x-x, x-x-x OAA Division I

1998: x-x-x, x-x-x OAA Division I

1999: x-x-x, x-x-x OAA Division I

2000: x-x-x, x-x-x OAA Division I

2001: x-x-x, x-x-x OAA Division I

2002: x-x-x, x-x-x OAA Division I

2003: 16-2-7, x-x-x OAA Division I (first); district champs; regional champs; Final Four; Division 1 State Champs (defeated Saline 1-0 in double-overtime)

2004: x-x-x, x-x-x OAA Division I

2005: x-x-x, x-x-x OAA Red Division

2006: x-x-x, x-x-x OAA Red Division

2007: x-x-x, x-x-x OAA Red Division

2008: x-x-x, x-x-x OAA Red Division

2009: 15-3-1, x-x-x OAA Red Division

2010: 18-3-1, x-x-x OAA Red Division

2011: 18-3-1, 6-1-0 OAA Red Division (first, 18 points); district champs; regional champs; Final Four

2012: Not available

2013: 8-11-1, 1-6-0 OAA Red Division

2014: 10-6-4, x-x-x OAA Red Division

2015: 8-8-2, 5-5-2 OAA Red Division (fourth, 17 points)

2016: 9-6-6, 2-2-4 OAA Red Division (fifth, 10 points)

2017: 14-7-2, x-x-x OAA Red Division; district champs; regional champs; Final Four

2018: 8-7-3, 1-5-1 OAA Red Division (???, four points)

2019: 14-5-1, 4-2-1 OAA Red Division (tied-third, 13 points)

2020: 9-3-4, 2-1-4 OAA Red Division (second, 10 points); district runner-up

2021: 18-1-4, 6-0-1 OAA Red Division (first, 19 points); district champs, regional runner-up

2022: 18-1-0, 6-1-0 OAA Red Division (first, 18 points); district champs; remaining of state tournament still to be played

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