Titans win again
BARBOURSVILLE -- It is only fitting that Tommy Trupo wears jersey No. 1 and Trevor Starcher dons the No. 2 for the U-16 Boys West Virginia Soccer Club Elite Titans.
That's because the duo has become a formidable 1-2 punch during the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships.
For the second straight day Saturday, Trupo found Starcher for a goal to help lead the Titans to a 2-0 victory over Far Post Premier (Vt.).
It is a chemistry that wasn't just built on the soccer field, however.
"It's not unnormal for us to (be on the same page) because we hang out all the time and are at each other's houses nearly every day during the summer," said Trupo, who goes to Charleston Catholic High School. "We sort of laughed about (the goal) because we said we knew each other would be there. After that, we just played our last 20 minutes well and finished out another win."
The duo has been dominant so far in the tournament for the Titans. Starcher has a goal in each contest with both coming off assists from Trupo. On the other side, Trupo has had a hand in all four goals for the Titans thus far, scoring one and assisting on three.
It is a bond built over the years, as Starcher explained.
"Our first year, we went to Virginia Beach and stayed in a hotel on the beach. We all went out and played in the ocean, buried each other in the sand," said Starcher, who attends Hurricane High School. "It was just a great time. That was the beginning."
While Trupo has had a hand in each goal to date, Titans coach Bob Gray said after the match that Starcher was his man of the match.
"Both of them are so darn competitive. If we were to pick up right now and play ping-pong, they'd want to beat the crap out of you," Gray said. "Trevor has been injured so that was a concern, but he really showed his true colors today. He really controlled the midfield."
While Starcher was Gray's man of the match, but much of the credit for the win goes to the Titans' defense that consistently shut down Far Post Premier from start to finish.
After looking shaky with a two-goal lead in the second half on Friday, the defense looked much more solid in solidifying Saturday's win.
"Today, I was very pleased. We were very safe in the back," Gray said. "They had only one good chance and that was after the ball bounced the wrong way on us. I was happy with the shape and positioning of our team."
The contest took on a similar feel to Friday with the WVSC Elite Titans scoring goals in the first 10 minutes of each half.
Brian Runyon opened the scoring in the first half off a feed from Trupo, and the Titans took a 1-0 lead to intermission.
At nearly the exact time-frame in the second half, Trupo found Starcher for the final tally to push the Titans to a win and a 2-0 start in pool play.
The win sets up a big matchup with Annandale FC (Va.) at 3 p.m., Sunday, on Field 9 of the Barboursville Soccer Complex.
Annandale has opened the tournament with a pair of 5-0 wins, but the West Virginia side has confidence heading into the match.
"Now, we are where we want to be and we want Virginia. We want to play them to go through," Starcher said. "We've played them the last two years and we've got them this year. We want to beat them."