By Josh Brown
TROY — Troy’s Kenzie Evans turned in a dominant performance Saturday.
But even as the Troy girls soccer team should have been celebrating a 10-2 victory over Trotwood in Greater Western Ohio Conference American League crossover play, moods turned as dreary as the rainy weather at Troy Memorial Stadium after the Trojans’ senior captain, goalkeeper Molly Miller, was kicked in the face by a Ram while attempting to cover up the ball late in the game’s second half.
“The win itself is secondary at this point to making sure the players are healthy,” Troy coach Michael Rasey said. “Hopefully it’s nothing too serious. Soccer is a game where bad things like that can happen, and you can just hope for the best.”
With the score already 9-2 Troy and the clock running per the mercy rule, Trotwood’s Shaneesa Shafeek got past the Troy defense for a breakaway attempt with 21:12 to play. Miller instinctively came out of the box and dove for the ball to cut off the shot attempt before it happened — a dangerous but also very common play — only this time, Shafeek’s foot caught her as she went down, and both players stayed on the ground for some time. Miller left the game and did not return, and her status for the immediate future is questionable.
“Injuries are of course a part of the game,” Rasey said. “When you play in this conference, against the opponents that we play, players are bound to suffer some injuries from time to time. The mark of a true team is how you play through the adversity, rally around one another and keep moving forward.
“It kind of goes with our team motto for the summer: ‘No excuses.’ We knew having lost (returning leading scorer) Ciena Miller, people were going to have to step up — and they did. Now we’ll see what happens with Molly.”
Troy (3-1, 3-0 GWOC American North Division) also knew coming into Saturday’s game that, even though Trotwood entered with a 1-3 record, it couldn’t take the Rams for granted — especially after only defeating them 1-0 last year and tying them 1-1 two years ago, a tie that cost them a share of the division title that year.
“The last few years, Trotwood has gotten steadily better,” Rasey said. “I told the girls that this was not a game we could take lightly.”
All game long, though, Evans showed what she could do.
Early in the first half, Julianna Williams collected the rebound on a shot by Evans and got it right back to Evans on the empty side of the net, and the junior beat Trotwood’s keeper to make it a 1-0 game with 33:34 on the clock.
With 20:50 left in the half, Williams got another assist, sending a cross to Megan Malott, who headed the ball in to make it a two-goal game. And with 10:11 left in the half, Evans set up for a 35-yard direct kick and blasted it in, giving Troy a 3-0 lead.
Trotwood’s Natali Smith put the Rams on the board by rifling in a 20-yarder with 9:45 left in the half, though, and another Trotwood shot went just wide moments later, putting a scare into the Trojans. But with 5:06 left in the half, Evans stole a goal kick and passed ahead to an open Kiyha Adkins for an easy score to make it 4-1 at the half. The Rams cut the lead back to two early in the second half, though, as Chayce Floyd put home a penalty kick with 38:21 left in the game to make it 4-2.
From there, it was all Troy.
Less than one minute after that penalty kick, Evans finished off her hat trick with an assist from Hannah Widener, and less than a minute after that Evans scored again on a feed from Malott to make it 6-2 — the times on those goals being 37:29 and 36:38.
And with 34:43 remaining, Audrey Brumfield hit a shot from the left side that hit the far post and had enough backspin to cross over the goal line. A while later with 31 minutes to play, Brumfield set up yet another goal, this one by Widener, to make it 8-2. And with 25 minutes to play, Jillian Peltier jumped on a rebound off a shot by Sydney Short, and the score sat at 9-2 Troy. Short added one last goal with 20:22 to go, jamming in a third-chance rebound off a shot by Josie Rohlfs.
“With the score at 4-2 early in the second, I was pleased to see the girls put the pedal to the metal,” Rasey said. “Offensively, we’re pretty confident with our team speed. And they came from all over the place, too.
“When Kenzie’s on, she’s a really special player. Today, she was able to demonstrate why she’s one of the better players in the Dayton area. So much of our offense goes through her position, and when you get a player like her that can shoot and distribute the ball, it gives your offense a lot of great opportunities.”
Troy travels to West Carrollton Wednesday for another GWOC American crossover matchup, then the Trojans return home on Sept. 11 to host undefeated Springboro in a big early-season test.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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