Chip shot

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 17, 2009

With the 2009 ARPA state soccer tournament getting underway in Dothan Saturday, several teams from Troy are currently undergoing rigorous preparations in hopes of bringing home a state title.

The 11-and-under boys are no different, as coach Ken LaBrant has been working with the team for two weeks to get ready for state.

“They’re looking pretty good,” LaBrant said. “They’ve worked hard during practice. They’re not going to settle for how they played at district.”

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An improvement over the team’s effort at district would be impressive, as the 11-U team won both of its district games. Troy defeated Ozark 4-3 and Eufaula 2-1 back on Nov. 7 in Eufaula.

While the team does want to build off of the successes of district and carry that effort to the next level, LaBrant said the performance at district has given him some confidence heading into state.

“I feel pretty positive about how they’re playing,” LaBrant said. “They’re getting better. We’ll be able to match up well with the teams we’ll see down there, but I realize nothing is going to be easy.”

LaBrant told his team during practice Tuesday of the immense challenge it will face at state.

One of the players, Jack LaBrant said the emotions are running high heading into Saturday.

“I’m nervous, but excited,” he said. “I hope we are able to win our first game.”

Some of the nerves come from the unfamiliarity with the teams Troy will play, namely its first opponent, Centre.

“We’re ready for the game, but I’m nervous because we’ve never played Centre before,” Jack LaBrant said.

Troy will play Centre first before taking on Prattville on Saturday as well. The winner of the three-team pool will then advance to Sunday’s championship game, but Ken LaBrant said Troy will not look past Centre.

“I just hope we win the first game, and try not to think about anything past that,” LaBrant said. “We’ve got a tough slate, but I think we’ll be able to run the gamut.”

The 11-U Troy team opens play at the ARPA state soccer tournament against Centre Saturday at 10:30 a.m.