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GIRLS SOCCER Troy surprises with first OAA-Red title since 2004



Twitter: @MiSoccerNetwork

TROY, Mich. – Two years ago, Troy watched Rochester celebrate its league title-clinching victory on Troy’s home field.

It’s only fitting that the Division 1 No. 3-ranked Colts returned the favor on the same Troy field two years later.

Troy put the finishing touches on the Oakland Activities Association-Red Division title Tuesday with a 3-2 victory over two-time defending OAA-Red Division champ Rochester for what is the Colts’ first league title since 2004 – ending a long 20-year drought in the process.

Even Troy’s Division 1 state runner-up teams in 2011 and 2012 and D-1 state championship squad in 2013 didn’t win the loaded conference, which has produced eight state championships and seven state runner-up teams in Class A/Division 1 since its inception in 1994-1995.

“It’s crazy to think about,” offered Troy coach Dan Troccoli, which is in his 10th season as the Colts’ head coach after coaching club and high school in the area for close to 30 years. “The last time we won an OAA (league) title was in 2004. My three daughters played here and we played in three state finals but we never won the league back in those seasons.

“I knew back in tryouts we would be good because we have a lot of very talented player,” continued Troccoli. “We came out in our first league game and beat Rochester Adams (2-1 on April 4) and I think from the get-go we believed we could compete against anybody.”

Sophomore transfer Olivia Jansniewicz (F/M) scored two goals for the Colts (10-1-3, 4-0-2), which ended the league season without a loss. Junior midfielder Ava Fleming added a goal and an assist for Troy in the title-clinching win.

Sophomore Allison Jeric and junior Kiely Robinson scored for Rochester (10-6-2, 2-3-1), which helped Troy out with a 2-0 league victory two weeks ago over state-ranked Troy Athens, the league runner-up who the Colts tied 1-1 last week in a weather-shortened game.

Jansniewicz, a transfer from Windsor, Ontario, and a standout with her Liverpool FC ECNL club team and Troy girls basketball team, has stepped into a key role as the leading goal scorer, essentially replacing some talented players lost to graduation. The future NCAA Division I college prospect has impressed coaches around the state.

“She’s stepped in and done a great job scoring goals for us. She can be a special player and she’s still young,” noted Troccoli.

Troy has played a brutally-tough schedule this season – much like its counterparts throughout the league – and have outscored the opposition 36-13 with four shutouts. After graduating All-State Dream Team and Division 1 All-State First Team forward Lizzie Bultynck, last year’s leading scorer, to NCAA Division I Bowling Green State University – Troy entered the campaign with a young but talented squad that features a small senior class and several quality freshmen and sophomores on the roster.

Senior twins Jenna Taylor and Sydney Taylor have been quality leaders on the back line, where seven different players have started games. Junior center back Brooks Hotts has also been a staple, while junior Maya Saad and sophomore Emma Rozek, another Division I prospect, has been sterling in helping Troy post a 0.93 team goals-against-average.

With two high-level goalkeepers at Troy playing in the ECNL circuit and not playing high school soccer, Troy looked to junior Sophia Peronis to fill its goalkeeper needs. Peronis played goalkeeper in late elementary school and middle school but has spent the last couple of years as a field player.

“We asked her if she would be interested in playing goal and she responded with a ‘whatever we need, coach.’ She’s stepped in and done a great job. It’s been a couple of years since she played goalkeeper in club, but she filled a need for us without complaining and has done a great job,” praised Troccoli.

Sophomore Sabrina Gaul (F), senior Erin Soules (F) and sophomore Audrey Hamilton (M) were returning starters and effective on the pitch in their own right. Junior Victoria Siegan (D), sophomore Amaya Deol (D) and freshmen Bryann Zawislak (M) and Kaylee Worrell (M) have seen ample time on this deep and talented roster.

“We have a lot of quality players and we have some depth,” reminded Troccoli. “We’ve had a few girls miss a game here and there with injuries and we’ve been able to slide some other girls into the lineup without missing a beat. I couldn’t be prouder of this team for how’ve they’ve played all season. We’re 10-1-3 and our only loss was a great game against (top-ranked) Hudsonville (2-1). They have 14 seniors and we were right there with them.”

Troy will compete in the Birmingham Seaholm-hosted Division 1 district over the next couple of weeks.  The Colts have a long history of deep tournament runs with 15 Final Four appearances, including three state championships and four state runner-up showings.

“Again, I feel we can compete with anybody, but I also understand how hard it is to make a run,” offered Troccoli. “Just in our district there are some good teams and we’ll have to get by Athens. The winner of our district will have (likely) have to beat (New Baltimore) Anchor Bay and then the district winner from (defending Division 1 state champion Rochester) Stoney Creek, Adams, Rochester, (Utica) Eisenhower, Romeo and Utica – and that’s a really strong district. If we can make a run our road to (the Final Four) won’t be easy.”

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