By Josh Brown
TROY — Ciena Miller finished her second straight hat trick off with a pretty goal late in the second half of Saturday’s game against West Carrollton, hitting a 35-yard blast on a direct kick over the wall of blockers and, eventually, the goalkeeper’s head.
“That’s her second hat trick in a row now. She’s the type of player that, when she gets hot, can take a game over,” Troy girls soccer coach Michael Rasey said of Miller. “We have several players that can do that, actually.”
The rest of the Trojans are beginning to figure out what they can do, too.
Kenzie Evans added a pair of goals to Miller’s three, Josalyn Abrams and Sydney Short each scored one and the Troy Trojans (3-1-1) won their second straight at home with a 7-0 drubbing of West Carrollton Saturday at Troy Memorial Stadium.
The Trojans split their first three games of the season, going 1-1-1 — capped off by a 5-0 loss against a tough Springboro team. Since then, though, Troy has won its last two by a combined score of 12-0 heading into Wednesday’s matchup at Trotwood.
They’re beginning to figure out just what they can do.
“We talked coming off of Wednesday’s game about how we couldn’t have letdowns from the start,” Rasey said. “That night, we didn’t perform the way we were capable of in the beginning. Against an opponent that we’re a better team than, we need to come out with intensity from the start — and today, we did that. The intensity was there, we were moving the ball around, and I was proud of the way we started today’s game.”
Troy put West Carrollton under heavy pressure early, but the Pirates’ goalkeeper made several solid saves, as well as smart decisions to intercept crosses or cut off angles, that kept the Trojans off the scoreboard early.
With 25:35 left in the first half, though, Troy finally put one home. Audrey Brumfield hit a perfect corner kick, and Josalyn Abrams got her head on the ball, deflecting it off of the back of a defender’s legs and into the goal to put Troy up 1-0.
The Trojans had to wait nearly 10 more minutes to crack the scoreboard again — but once they did, it was all over. Molly Miller set up a breakaway by Ciena Miller, and the latter ripped a 20-yarder inside the far post from the right side to make it a two-goal game with 16:50 left in the half. And a mere 47 seconds later, Evans took a feed from Holland Lively and hit a similar shot in from almost the same spot to give Troy a 3-0 lead.
“Their goalkeeper kept them in the game during the early part of it,” Rasey said. “She made some good plays. But our girls did a good job of playing cleaner and more crisp. We had better movement off the ball than we have, and the girls did a good job of finding the open players.”
And with 2:16 left in the half, Short knocked one last ball into the goal, hitting a perfectly-angled 20-yard shot over the keeper’s head and under the crossbar to make it a 4-0 game heading into the break.
Troy kept the pressure on in the second half as Evans hit a cross into the middle of the box from the right side — only to have it deflect off of the West Carrollton goalkeeper, then a defender and finally into the goal for an unassisted score with 32:31 remaining. Ciena Miller followed that with her second goal of the game with 20:54 to play, and she finished off the hat trick with her 35-yard blast with 10:34 to go.
Troy goalkeeper Arianna Garcia didn’t face a shot to record the shutout, only making one play to intercept the Pirates’ only corner kick of the game two minutes into the second half. West Carrollton’s Jada Brown also got free on a breakaway momentarily in the middle of the second half, but she was caught from behind by a Troy defender, who kicked the ball out of bounds before a shot could be taken.
“This is the kind of offensive result we needed to see in a game like this,” Rasey said. “Five games into the season, and this team is beginning to see what it’s capable of.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.