By Josh Brown
TROY — Grant Holland’s hat trick less than 20 minutes into the game?
Collin Hubbell’s 40-yard bomb as the halftime buzzer sounded?
Starting goalkeeper Troy Breisch’s actual goal?
Though there were a lot of contenders for play of the game during the Troy boys soccer team’s 12-0 victory on Senior Night over Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division rival Piqua — a game that sealed the program’s first ever undefeated regular season — the one that drew the most applause from the large crowd Tuesday night at Troy Memorial Stadium was one that didn’t even officially count.
Breisch — who, with the outcome not in doubt after Troy (14-0-2, 8-0-2 GWOC American North) took an 8-0 lead by halftime, played forward for more of the second half and had already scored his first goal — took a pass up the left sideline, flirted with the out-of-bounds marker and cut the ball back toward the middle of the field to get around a defender. He then hammered a flawless shot from 25 yards out into the upper-90, beating a fully-extended Piqua goalie to apparently make the score 13-0 and drawing a huge ovation from the crowd.
But there was a catch. The officials ruled that the ball had gone out of bounds along the sideline, and the goal was waved off.
“I know. I even asked my coach after the game, and he said it looked like it was on the line,” said an excited Breisch. “Oh well, I scored one and that’s all that mattered. Although that second one was probably the highlight of my season.”
And what a season it’s been for the Trojans.
The Trojans posted their first undefeated regular season in the team’s history, finishing second in the GWOC American North Division behind Tippecanoe by half a game. But when asked how he felt about the undefeated run, coach Richard Phillips — who has been the team’s head coach since 1985 — only wanted to talk about how it related to his players.
“For those kids, it’s a great feeling,” he said. “They worked hard for it. They deserve everything, all the credit.”
“We definitely worked as a team all year to get to where we are,” said Holland, one of the team’s 11 seniors honored on Senior Night. “Coach has been trying to get us to play together, and I think we finally did it. It feels good. I don’t know what to say. It’s definitely been a good year. It’s all been worth it.”
“It feels amazing,” Breisch said. “My first year on varsity, to have it be the only undefeated season ever is amazing. It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
It’s a game that Piqua (4-11, 2-8 GWOC American North) would likely rather forget.
Holland scored the first goal 5:07 into the game in impressive fashion, beating Piqua’s keeper to a pass from Collin Hubbell by sliding to it and redirecting it into the goal to put Troy up. Roughly three minutes later, Ben Schreiber got behind the defense and scored a breakaway goal to make it 2-0.
With 29:40 until halftime, Henry Shaneyfelt scored on an assist from Holland, and at the 23:49 mark Holland headed in a cross from Brandon Lewis following some solid combination play off of a corner kick. And with 21:19 left in the first half, Holland finished off his hat trick on an assist from Tyler Mauk to make it 5-0.
“I expected more out of Piqua, to give us more,” Phillips said. “It didn’t happen that way, partly because we were so pumped up, so hyped before the game. The kids came out and just took charge early, and once we did that, their heads just went down.”
“Yeah, it felt like they kept trying, kept fighting the entire game,” Holland said. “But we just kept going hard and never stopped.”
At the 16:01 mark, Holland sent a pass in to Connor Hubbell, who finished off the two-on-one opportunity to make it 6-0. Then with 11:03 left in the half, Bailey Webb cashed in a loose ball in front of the Indians’ goal to make it 7-0.
The next 11 minutes went by without a score, and it looked like Troy would carry a seven-goal lead into halftime. But Collin Hubbell sent one last high-arcing shot at Piqua’s goal from more than 40 yards out — and it sailed over the keeper’s head and in as the buzzer sounded, setting off the first giant ovation on the night and making it 8-0 at the break.
The Trojans didn’t let up in the second half, either. Shaneyfelt scored his second goal with 25:20 left in the game, setting off a series of lineup changes for Troy — including keeper Breisch moving up to forward. The Trojans spent the rest of the game trying to get him the ball. Piqua realized what was happening, and it created opportunities that others simply couldn’t pass up, including Holland scoring his fourth goal on an assist from Collin Hubbell with 12:20 remaining.
Briesch later lined up for a 25-yard direct kick and fired it on goal, the keeper made a save but couldn’t wrap up the rebound, and Derrin McCormick cashed it in to make it an 11-0 game with 9:46 remaining.
But with 4:45 to play, Breisch finally got his chance, taking a pass from Peyton Hampton in front and redirecting it in for his first goal — a moment he said was better than recording a shutout.
“It felt great,” he said. “The one I scored, I wasn’t even looking at the goal. I just kind of shot it and was hoping it went in. Everyone was screaming. It was kind of surreal.
“Probably scoring the goal. I have 9.5 shutouts on the season now, so that’s kind of a regular thing now. Scoring the goal felt great.”
Before the game, Troy honored its 11 seniors: Holland, Shaneyfelt, Breisch, McCormick, Hampton, Brandon and Conner Lewis, Collin Hubbell, Schreiber, Mauk and Luke Johnson.
Now the Trojans will begin preparing for the Division I sectional tournament. Fourth-seeded Troy will play No. 16 Fairborn in the first round — though the Trojans had trouble with the Skyhawks early in the season. No. 5 Fairmont, which knocked Troy out of the sectional tournament last season, awaits the winner in the second round.
“In our first match against Fairborn, we won that one 1-0,” Phillips said. “We can’t look past Fairborn. We’ve got to prepare for that match. After that result, then we can look forward. But right now, like I said, we have to prepare for Fairborn.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.