TROY — Troy knew what to expect from Wednesday’s Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division opener.
And while winless Greenville posed little threat, there were still challenges to be had.
The Trojans (4-3, 1-0 GWOC North) first overcame their own expectations of how the game would be played, then they overcame a talented Green Wave goalkeeper to start off division play with a 7-0 victory Wednesday at Troy Memorial Stadium.
“We knew it was the GWOC North opener, and the girls know this is when the games start to really count,” Troy girls soccer coach Michael Rasey said. “It’s always important for us to get off to a good start.
“We played a little down to their level in the first half. We played slow, our passes weren’t as crisp as they should’ve been. But we picked it up in the second half — and that was the challenge I gave to the girls at halftime.”
Even so, Troy put itself on the board a mere 3:02 into the game. The Trojans earned a throw-in near Greenville’s goal, and Kelsey Walters hurled the ball into the middle of the box. Kailyn Hatfield jumped on the loose ball on the ground, sneaking it just inside the post to give Troy the lead. Roughly seven minutes later, Whitney Webb got free and rifled a shot in, and Troy led by two 10 minutes in.
But, despite numerous chances, the Trojans couldn’t add to that lead until the 2:10 mark of the first half. After a corner kick bounced around in the box in front of the Wave goal, Greenville’s defense failed to clear it and Webb pounced again, sending Troy into the locker room with a 3-0 lead.
Greenville (0-6, 0-1 GWOC North), meanwhile, only managed one offensive rush in the first half, and that came off of a Troy turnover in its own defensive end. The same defender was easily able to recover and steal the ball back before the Wave could get a shot off, though.
“Against a team like Greenville, you know they’re going to work hard and give you everything they’ve got,” Rasey said. “If you have a mental letdown, you can give up some goals. Fortunately, our defense stayed solid for us.”
Greenville’s goalkeeper, Ashton Kester, actually played a solid game despite the number of goals she gave up — she simply was bombarded by shots all night long as her own team could not find a way to mount a counterattack. Were it not for her play, the Trojan halftime lead would have been seven or eight.
“She’s the reason why the game wasn’t worse. She has been the past few years,” Rasey said. “She made an incredible diving save on a shot by Sierra (Besecker) early in the game, and she had a lot of great saves. That’s the message I gave the girls both before the game and again at halftime — we’re going to have to earn our goals.”
In the second half, the Trojans earned a few more.
Maddy Innes — who began the game as the Trojans’ goalie but was moved to the field halfway through the first half — scored a pair of quick goals early in the second half. First, Olivia Westfall threaded a pass through the Greenville defense to Innes for a breakaway, and Innes cashed it in to make it 4-0 with 32:35 left to play. And with 31:32 left, Innes put home another goal to make it 5-0.
“Maddy definitely gave us a spark,” Rasey said. “Those two quick goals set the tone for the rest of the half.”
Troy dominated play even more from that point on, keeping the Wave under constant fire. With 10:20 left, Sierra Besecker — who had jubbed back in at that point — scored on her first run on a breakaway set up by Webb, then with 7:54 left, Ciena Miller scored on an assist from Besecker to cap off the scoring on the night.
All told, Troy outshot Greenville 32-0 in the game. The three Trojans keepers that saw action — Innes, Arianna Garcia and Molly Miller — only touched the ball when their own teammates sent it back to them.