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Siblings of former players try to add to Burrell's title collection

| Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, 11:24 p.m.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Burrell's Joey Cox celebrates his goal against Valley during their game at Valley High School on Saturday, September 22, 2012.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Burrell's Tom Spagnolo attacks the ball against East Allegheny's Tyson Nguyen during the soccer game at Burrell High School on Tuesday, September 24, 2013.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Burrell's head soccer coach T.J. Trozzi goes over plays during halftime of the soccer game at Burrell High School on Tuesday, September 24, 2013.

T.J. Trozzi belonged to Burrell's soccer team as a player during a transcendent period in program history.

In 2005, Trozzi's senior season, Burrell, a middle-of-the-pack program for almost a decade, claimed a share of its first section title.

Now a third-year coach of the Bucs, Trozzi hopes his boys are on the path to another big moment.

At the halfway point of the regular season, Burrell is in a familiar position: atop the Section 1-AA standings with a healthy lead over its opponents. The Bucs (8-2, 6-0), who finished as section champions six times in the past eight seasons, need only to avoid the late-year breakdowns that plagued last fall's team to continue their stretch of success.

But there's potential for the current Bucs to do something their predecessors failed to achieve: Finish with a perfect section record.

“It'll be interesting to see,” Trozzi said. “But I really don't want them thinking about that. Just take it one game at a time.

“I think that they feel at times that they have to win the section because of teams prior to them, but I don't want to put that pressure on them. … Each team is different.”

Because of sibling connections, there's not much the 2013 Bucs don't know about their more recent predecessors.

Trozzi's younger brother Chad, who became the team's all-time scoring leader, played from 2006-09, when Burrell won three section titles and twice finished with just one section loss.

Junior center midfielder Joey Cox, one of the Bucs' top offensive weapons, watched his brother, Brian, start on defense as a classmate of Chad Trozzi.

Sophomore forward Corey Mazary continues the family legacy started by his brother Jimmy, a 2008 graduate.

And senior Tom Spagnolo, Burrell's star scorer this fall, has followed in the footsteps of his brothers Pete, a 2013 graduate, and Phil, a 2008 grad.

“It's awesome to see families go through it,” Trozzi said. “I think when I was playing, it was more proving that we could be contenders in the playoffs and win a section. Now, these recent teams are holding up that standard.”

When past and present Bucs gather for alumni games or just preseason pick-up action, there's debate about which championship teams stands above the rest.

“It's a fun little thing, because we were both great teams,” Cox said of the exchanges between he and his brother.

Few highlights separate one season from another: The 2005, 2006 and 2010 section winners reached the quarterfinals, while the rest had first-round exits. The 2011 champs were unbeaten at 10-0-2 in section play. The 2008 squad had the most impressive records: 18-3 overall and 13-1 in section play, with the section loss coming in its second-to-last game.

What the former players want most is to see Burrell break out of its rut and reach the semifinals.

“My brother, he's encouraging me,” Cox said. “He wants us to get past the second round.”

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