GIRLS SOCCER: Troy reaches Final Four for first time since 2013, blanks Grosse Pointe North for regional title | North Oakland Sports

GIRLS SOCCER: Troy reaches Final Four for first time since 2013, blanks Grosse Pointe North for regional title

| June 7, 2018 | Comments (0)



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TROY — Apparently, Troy truly is a different team this postseason.

The Colts, who finished just 4-6-6 in the regular season and in third place in the loaded OAA Red Division, moved to 9-6-6 overall and advanced to the state semifinals for the first time in five years following Thursday’s 5-0 rout of Grosse Pointe North in the Division 1 regional finals at Troy Athens.

The unranked Colts will face sixth-ranked Novi in the Final Four matchup June 12 at Rochester Stoney Creek, as they continue their quest to win a third state title — all as a team that fell out of the Division 1 top 20 after the April 23rd rankings.

“I always felt that we had the talent to compete for a state championship, I really do, and now we’re one win away,” said third-year Troy coach Dan Troccoli. “We’re starting to play the way I felt we could play all along.”

Troy has now outscored its five postseason opponents, 14-3, and will play in the semifinals for the first time since 2013 — also the last time the Colts captured a state title.

“I think we realized that if we lose this game, it’s our last one. And a lot of the seniors aren’t playing in college, so we kind of thought why not go out with a bang,” noted senior Clare McAuliffe.

Five different players scored goals for the Colts, who struggled to score goals in the regular season. Troy was actually outscored 25-22 over 16 games during the regular season.

After conceding a cornerkick to Grosse Pointe North just two minutes into the game, Troy dominated for the final 78 minutes of play.

Jessica Chen scored what proved to be the game-winner with 22:31 remaining in the first half when she cashed in a rebound following Tahra Brodbine’s shot that was turned aside by North goalkeeper Hannah Martin.

The Colts seemingly broke the Norsemen’s back with another tally with 10:36 to go in the half. McAuliffe’s perfectly placed cornerkick was bent right to the six-yard mark and Stephanie O’Keefe headed home the short-range shot for a 2-0 advantage.

Sophia Bongiovanni notched her first goal of the campaign just 1:02 left before the break when she scooped up a loose ball and rifled home a shot from 28 yards out for the 3-0 lead.

Troy — which finished 1-3-3 during its final seven games of the regular season — continued to pour it on in the second half.

O’Keefe’s pass through traffic was redirected by Alex Lillie with 16:03 remaining, while Briana Scillion capped the scoring with 5:01 left when she corralled a pass from Alie Armin and chipped in a shot from 25 yards out.

Troy outshot Grosse Pointe North (14-7-1) by a commanding 17-3 margin, including 13-2 with shots on frame, and even held a 3-1 edge with cornerkicks during its dominating effort. GPN didn’t even attempt a shot until there was 23:20 left in the contest.

“(Finishing is) something we’ve been working on very, very, very much the last three weeks,” said Troccoli. “They’ve been working really hard in practice and concentrating on staying composed. If you watch the beginning of the season until now, the composure is just out the roof right now. They are just so composed. They are very relaxed, and it is working out very well for them.”

Cassidy Dawson turned aside two shots for the Colts’ third straight postseason shutout and sixth on the season.

Grosse Pointe North, which was trying to win its first regional title since 1992, was simply overmatched. The Noresemen upset 10th-ranked New Baltimore Anchor Bay two days earlier, 1-0, in a shootout, but simply could not match Troy’s pressure and intensity.

“We just didn’t have it today. It wasn’t our day,” said Gross Pointe North assistant coach Eric Vanston. “Troy’s got a good side, and we wish them the best of luck in the future.”

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