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Soriano Guides Michael Power Trojans to OFSAA Birth



On November 16, 2011, the Toronto Catholic (TDCAA) Finals was played in front of a very enthusiastic group of fans at Ryerson University in Downtown Toronto.  With one birth to the Ontario high school Championships (OFSAA) up for grabs, the  Michael Power Trojans who were the favorites going in, defeated the St Joseph- Wellesley Bears, by a score of 45-27.

The Trojans were the defending Toronto Catholic Champions, while with a victory this would have been a first Championship ever for the relatively young Bears team.  And it appeared as though the lack of big game experience proved to be quite costly for the Bears as the inability to take care of the ball and inability to contain the Trojans’ key weapons signalled their doom.

“We wanted to force the tempo and play a fast game. We have an excellent Point Guard and a good Big girl inside.” said Michael Power Coach, Paul McGrath.

The Point Guard he is referring to is speedy Julia Soriano (5’5″,  G, 2012) who is in her final year as a Trojan.  Her speed and playmaking ability, along with the dominating presence of 6’2″ Forward, Cheyanne Roger (6’2″, F, 2013) were the overwhelming difference in this game.

Coach McGrath went on to say “We wanted to get into a transition game and I think that they wanted to get in to a transition game also, but I think that we were more polished, more experienced and I believed that we could control it with our big girl in the back.”

Coach McGrath’s confidence in his star Point Guard and Forward on this day was not to be disappointed as Soriano and Roger quickly got the Trojans out to a very comfortable lead.  Soriano’s quickness and ability to work well with Roger created matchup headaches for the Bears.

Having already been in this position just a year earlier a poised Soriano was prepared.  “We knew they were coming after us”, she said about how they prepared for this game.  “Just being calm and not freaking out if they press us and being ready to break their press.”

Repeatedly, Soriano was able to find holes in the Bears’ press leadin to favourable half court scenarios where she unselfishly created for her Roger who was the big beneficiary.  Roger was quite intimidating inside, not allowing herself to be boxed out and using good post moves from entry passes provided by her PG.

But the after a 16-0 run in the First Quarter, Roger found herself in early foul trouble and was forced to sit the majority of the second.  That was when the Bears’ Kim Taylor led her team by taking advantage of a much softer look for the Trojans in the middle. Taylor took the ball to the hole  more consistently, leading to a 14-0 run of their own, closing the deficit to 19-14 at halftime.

At half time, Coach McGrath knew what he had to do in order to get his team back on track.  “I was basically trying to build their confidence and remind them they are the better team.  That we have been here before, we have the experience and play with the ability that we have by not letting them dictate to us what we should do.”

Those sentiments seemed to have been translated by extension through his on-floor general, Soriano. “On the court, I didn’t bring up the ball quite as fast and I told them to calm down and start with our basics.”  It was her leadership and helping to set up Roger’s explosive 11 point Third Quarter that put the game into cruise control for the Trojans who when on to outscore the Bears by a 26-13 margin en route to a 45-27 Toronto Catholic Finals win.

The Trojans were led in scoring by Cheyanne Roger who led all scorers with 19 points. Christina Petronis (5’6″, G, 2013) connected on four 3-pointers, giving her 12 points on the day while Julia Soriano scored 6.  The Bears were led in scoring by Kim Taylor who netted 10.

Looking forward to next week’s OFSAA Championships, Coach McGrath believes his team can now exhale as they look ahead.  “I think for them the pressure is off.  We were the favoured team in the league this year and coming to a game like this (TDCAA Finals) they felt the pressure.  Now everything we acheive after this is on top of this Championship.”