By Josh Brown
TROY — Troy’s boys soccer team didn’t get to finish its season opener Saturday.
The Trojans will get the chance to a week later — after finishing off Bellefontaine in between.
Grant Holland cashed in a breakaway in the first half to put Troy on top, finished off a cross for some insurance in the second half and Connor Hubbell drew and then converted a penalty kick to put away the Chieftains in a 3-0 Trojan victory in Troy’s home opener Tuesday at Troy Memorial Stadium.
Saturday night, Troy had tried to open the season with a road game at Wayne — and had taken a 1-0 lead on an early goal by freshman Reece Sherman — but 10 minutes in, thunderstorms rolled through, postponing the action for a week. The Trojans and Warriors will meet back at Wayne at 4:45 p.m. Aug. 27 to finish the game.
Like in that first game, Troy (1-0) wasted no time taking control.
Sherman hit a bomb of a direct kick 50 yards out of Troy’s end and behind Bellefontaine’s defense — which Holland flew right past. He picked up the ball 20 yards out for a breakaway, dribbled it twice then tapped it past the Bellefontaine keeper and inside the far post to put Troy on top a mere 2:46 into the match.
Chances were few and far between from there in the first half, though, and no one could make anything out of them when they arose. Henry Shaneyfelt sent one shot high and over the goal, then Holland was set up on another breakaway by Collin Hubbell, only to hit it wide of the far post this time. The Trojans also missed out on a number of corner kick tries, and a header by Collin Hubbell in the closing seconds of the half went just wide.
“With a one-goal lead, it’s not safe,” Troy coach Richard Phillips said. “We needed to be more efficient with the ball. We had some chances in the first half to get more than one. When you get chances in front of the goal, you need to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Bellefontaine had one chance in the first half — and it couldn’t cash in, either. Daunte George got free on a breakaway, but his shot went a foot wide of the far post. Brad Hughes tried to catch up to the ball and deflect it in before it went out of bounds, but he was two steps too slow, and the Trojans clung to a 1-0 lead at the break.
And even though there were plenty more missed chances throughout the first 20 minutes of the second half, the Trojans kept control of play throughout — and eventually, Bellefontaine turned away one Troy chance only to surrender another.
Connor Hubbell spring Holland on a breakaway with a through ball, but the Chieftain keeper punched his shot away and the defense cleared it to midfield. Troy stole it right back, though, and worked it back to the corner on the attack with a series of short, sharp passes. Alex Bridge crossed it in front of the goal, and Holland struck it out of the air and into the goal to make it 2-0 Troy with 12:47 to play.
“The build-up on the second goal was nice,” Phillips said. “We hit about six passes that we put together to work it into position, and then the one-touch finish was nice, also.
“We were aggressive to the ball. We wanted to win the second ball. We made some changes in the second half to try to keep better possession of the ball. In the first half, we didn’t have possession of the ball. But we did a better job possessing the ball in the second half.”
It didn’t take Troy long after that to put the game well out of reach.
Connor Hubbell got behind the Bellefontaine defense, only to be tripped up from behind, giving him a penalty kick. The sophomore beat the keeper one last time to make it a 3-0 game with 8:52 to go, and Troy closed out the game from there.
And Saturday, the Trojans will get the chance to close out their other first game.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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