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Trojans on track for soccer title

Slippery turf and a persistent drizzle did nothing to soak the spirits of the D.P. Todd Trojans.

Slippery turf and a persistent drizzle did nothing to soak the spirits of the D.P. Todd Trojans.

They're intent on hanging on to the double-A zone boys soccer title and not even a day of nasty weather could spoil the fun for a veteran-laden Trojan crew at Rotary Field on Day 1 of the eight team tournament.

The Trojans won all three of their games Sunday to lock up first place in their pool, setting up a semifinal match today at 10 a.m. against Columneetza, while Duchess Park takes on Williams Lake. The winner moves on to today's 1 p.m. final.

D.P. Todd's first victims were the Williams Lake Thunder. The Trojans scored three goals in a seven-minute span in the second period and went on to win 4-2. They also beat Quesnel 10-0, and Columneetza of Williams Lake 9-0.

In the early game, with the Trojans and Thunder tied 1-1,Trojan forward Rob Panaich nailed the goalpost and trapped the high bounce with his feet allowing him to chip the ball into the net from close range. Rylan Jubinville and Bjorn van Noort followed suit a few minutes later, both connecting on long shots.

Jake Walsh tried to rally the Thunder and came up with a spectacular individual play to deke two Trojan defenders and send himself into the clear to launch a 30-metre rainbow that tracked into the net behind goalie Pardeep Jaswal. Williams Lake kept up the pressure in the dying minutes but couldn't manage any more quality shots.

Sunday's game was a rematch of last year's semifinal, won by the Trojans, who went on to finish 14th at the provincial tournament.

"It was 1-1 with about 15 minutes left and I finally lit a spark under my guys and they started playing like they can," said Trojans coach Brian Schultz. "They had a rough time with the weather, a lot of trips and falls and that was really hurting our momentum a lot.

D.P. Todd is stacked with eight Grade 12 players and came into the tournament ranked No. 1, followed by Duchess Park, Columneetza and College Heights. The winner goes to Burnaby for the provincial tournament, Nov. 22-24.

"This is probably the best team we've had in a long time and I think we'll take it to provincials and do pretty good down there," said van Noort, the Trojans centre midfielder. "It just took us a while to get our wheels going, we had a pretty slow first half."

Yuriy Kuzena, an international student from Germany, opened the scoring early in the game, the only goal of the first half. Lynden Grosso got the Thunder on the scoreboard four minutes into the second half.

"Our guys never quit, they were trying their hardest, even under the circumstances of the weather," said Thunder coach George Fraser. "It was just unlucky shots for us and D.P. Todd played hard and deserved to win."

Other results Sunday were as follows: College Heights 6 Quesnel 0; Duchess Park 9 Lakes District 2; Columneetza 1 Peter Skene Ogden 0; Williams Lake 4 College Heights 3; Columneetza 4 Lakes Distrit 0; Duchess Park 4 Peter Skene Ogden 0; Williams Lake 4 Quesnel 0; Duchess Park 3 Columneetza 0; Peter Skene Ogden 4 Lakes District 1.