Troy celebrates a goal during their 4-1 win over Oxford April 30 at Oxford High School.

Troy celebrates a goal during their 4-1 win over Oxford April 30 at Oxford High School.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Father-daughter coaching duo, young squad have unbeaten Troy thriving

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Troy Times | Published May 8, 2024

 Troy senior Sydney Taylor sends a shot as the Troy bench looks on.

Troy senior Sydney Taylor sends a shot as the Troy bench looks on.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


TROY — The Troy Colts girls soccer program can sometimes get lost in the shuffle of Oakland County soccer, or more specifically, the Oakland Activities Association Red.

Every year, the OAA Red seems to be the conference teams fear when they step into the state tournament, and for good reason.

The last two Division 1 state championships were courtesy of the OAA Red, and the league also holds three top-10 ranked teams to its credit with Troy (No. 4), Troy Athens (No. 6) and Rochester Adams (No. 7).

“In my opinion, the OAA is the best conference in the state,” Troy coach Daniel Troccoli said. “It’s brutal. It prepares us and, obviously, we schedule teams like Hudsonville and Brighton. We played Adams the first game of the season, and man that was a tough game. Eisenhower was also right at the beginning of the season, and that was also a tough game. Then we played Northville. We have Notre Dame Prep and Rochester. We have a tough schedule. There’s no doubt about it. It just prepares us for what we have to face in districts and onward.”

The Colts have been consistently successful year in and year out, but making the journey to the state finals, where the Colts were champions in 2013 and back-to-back runners-up in 2011 and 2012, has been the tough part.

To give his team some knowledge of what it takes to get to the finals stage, Troccoli didn’t have to look very far.

Sarah Troccoli, the daughter of head coach Daniel Troccoli, joined this year as an assistant coach after playing professionally in Finland for Åland United since 2021. Troccoli played collegiate soccer at the University of Florida after winning a state championship with Troy in 2013.

Sarah Troccoli has walked in the same shoes as the other ladies on the team, and Daniel Troccoli said her impact has been immeasurable.

“Anything that comes out of her mouth, I listen to,” Daniel Troccoli said. “She knows more about soccer from playing it in high school, a top university at the University of Florida, and overseas in Spain and Finland. There isn’t anything that comes out of her mouth that I’m not going to listen to. She’s just so smart and expresses herself very well, and the girls really listen to her and enjoy having her around. It’s a godsend to me.”

With some added experience on the coaching staff, a young Colts team is making a name for itself in the league, holding an unbeaten 9-0-2 record and first place in the OAA Red.

Led by team captains Jenna Taylor (senior), Sydney Taylor (senior), Ava Fleming (junior), and Maya Saad (junior), Troy has been dominant in just about every aspect of their game.

The Colts are averaging just under three goals per game behind an offensive attack consisting of sophomore Sabrina Gaul, sophomore Olivia Jasniewicz, junior Victoria Siegan, twins Jenna and Sydney Taylor, Sophomore Emma Rozek, and Fleming.

Jasniewicz has been tearing up opponents this season since joining Troy soccer this year and has only been an embarrassment of riches for a Colts attack featuring an array of collegiate-level talent.

Fleming credits their preseason preparation for the team’s on-field chemistry.

“We get to know each other so well in the preseason that when it comes to the actual season, it just feels like a normal thing for us,” Fleming said. “We know how to play with each other and we know each other’s styles. It just works out.”

Freshman Brynn Zawislak, junior Valentina Aguirre and senior Lea Clark have been consistent contributors for Troy this season.

The backline features some veteran presence with Sydney Taylor, a four-year varsity player, and junior Brooke Hotts, a three-year varsity player, headlining the group alongside Saad, a team captain, Rozek, and junior Janie Lennon, the Colts’ Swiss Army Knife.

Lennon’s feather in her cap is being a positionless player — wherever Troccoli needs her is where she’ll be, and she’ll execute it efficiently.

“I call her my ‘multitool,’ because I literally put her anywhere on the field and she attacks that position and performs at a high level no matter where she is,” Troccoli said.

With four clean sheets in net already, junior Sophia Peronis has been stellar as the primary goalkeeper this season, allowing fewer than one goal per game.

Peronis had some keeper experience growing up as a soccer player, so when Troy needed someone to control the net, Troccoli knew who to turn to.

“We went to her and said, ‘Hey, we need a goalkeeper and we know you have the ability,’” Troccoli said. “‘Are you willing to step in and fill some big shoes?’ She said, ‘Let’s do it coach.’”

With a balanced attack on both sides of the field, Troy should be in play to not just win the OAA Red, but be serious contenders in the state tournament. Troy last made it out of district in 2021 and reached the state semifinals in 2019.

Troy has all the makings of a state championship squad, but Sydney Taylor said they’re only focused on the task at hand.

“Our big goal is to win a state championship every year, but coach Dan (Troccoli) always emphasizes to us how today’s game is the only game we’re focusing on,” Taylor said. “We’re not focusing on next week or when we play Athens, our rival. We’re not focusing on that. We’re focusing on the game that day. It’s kind of 50-50. We take it day-by-day, but we play like we’re always playing for the state championship.”