By Josh Brown
TROY — Troy girls soccer coach Michael Rasey has seen something similar before.
“I told the girls that it reminds me of a few years ago, in 2011,” he said. “That team had some struggles in the middle of the season but hit its stride heading into the tournament and ended up going to the district finals. This team has the talent to do the same thing. I see a lot of potential in these girls to do that again.”
Troy (7-7-2, 3-0-2 Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division) finished off the regular season Wednesday night with an impressive 6-0 victory over the rival Piqua Indians at Troy Memorial Stadium, the team’s third straight victory after a lengthy winless stretch.
Since giving up the first goal against Sidney a week ago, the Trojans have outscored opposing teams 15-1 — and it’ll be seeing one of the teams they beat during that stretch in the first round of the tournament, Fairborn.
“We’re starting to play our best soccer,” Rasey said. “There’s still some things we can clean up. We probably left two or three goals out there tonight, and once you get deeper into the tournament, you can’t miss those chances.”
Piqua (4-11, 2-3 GWOC North) had most of its offense in the game’s opening minute, taking the opening kickoff and earning two consecutive corner kicks — but Troy’s defense was able to clear away the second.
Troy took it the other way, with Sierra Besecker sending a ball through that Kelsey Walters outran the defense to for a breakaway. But the defenders caught up with her, knocking her off the ball just enough to prevent her from taking a solid shot and allowing Piqua keeper Jennouleigha Tipton to make an easy save. Walters then put a throw-in into the center of the box, but no one was on the back end of it and the defense was able to clear. And a bit later, Bailey Dornbusch hit a shot from 25 yards out that Piqua’s keeper was able to deflect aside, and the Indians cleared the resulting corner kick.
With 27:50 left in the half, the Trojans had a golden opportunity to score, drawing a penalty kick. Whitney Webb took the kick and hit it right at Tipton, who bobbled it but was able to recover and scoop it up before it rolled across the line between her legs.
The Trojans kept the pressure on, though, and with 18:00 left in the half, with Walters again running past the Piqua defense to reach a long through ball for a breakaway. This time, though, she hit a quick tap just inside the right post before the defense could catch up, and Troy led 1-0.
Shortly after, Troy struck again. Mackenzie Evans sent a ball into the middle of the field that bounced free, and Kailyn Hatfield cashed in the chance, turning and ripping in a shot to make it 2-0 with 15:34 left in the half. And with 7:49 to go, the Trojans earned another penalty kick after being tripped in the box, and Sierra Besecker converted it to give Troy a three-goal lead at the half.
“We kept up the pressure offensively,” Rasey said. “We told the girls at the half that they’d (Piqua) only had about three or four opportunities. The girls have been knocking the ball around well, too. We’re finding teammates and playing very unselfish soccer. If we can play this kind of good defense and keep the offense clicking the way it is, we can be a dangerous out in the tournament.”
Besecker got her second goal of the game early in the second half. She lined up to take a corner kick and hit a roller along the goal line. No one touched it either way, and it eventually rolled inside the far post and into the goal to make it 4-0 Troy with 36:16 to play.
While the Trojans kept play in Piqua’s end most of the second half, they didn’t truly threaten to score until there was 13:54 to go, when Hatfield got her second of the game, deflecting in a ball by Webb to make it 5-0 Troy.
And with roughly 10 minutes to go, the Trojans began pulling their eight seniors — Besecker, Dornbuscher, Hatfield, keeper Maddie Innes, Victoria Miller, Alie Soutar, Webb and Walters — out of the game, each to a standing ovation from the Troy fans present. But with 6:07 to go in the game, Webb was able to put one home on a breakaway to make it a 6-0 game right before exiting.
The Trojans host Fairborn — which they defeated 7-1 on Monday — Oct. 19 in the first round of the Division I sectional tournament.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.