Troy Christian sweeps East


By Josh Brown

jbrown@troydailynews.com

TROY — Two missed chances early almost cost Troy Christian’s girls soccer team.

Cashing in only two early chances made it a stressful afternoon for the Eagle boys soccer team.

In the end, though, Troy Christian’s boys and girls were able to sweep a doubleheader from visiting Miami East Saturday at Eagle Stadium, with both teams holding on for 2-1 victories.

* Boys

Troy Christian’s boys soccer team knew exactly what it was going to get facing Miami East.

Scoring two early goals didn’t change that.

But after Jared Trimbach and Andrew Strait scored in the first 12 minutes of Saturday’s game against the Vikings, goalkeeper Ty Davis and the Eagle defense made that stand up against a heavy Miami East assault that lasted until the game’s closing minutes as Troy Christian (4-1-1) closed out a 2-1 victory in an incredibly physical game to cap off a girls-boys doubleheader at Eagle Stadium.

“We know what we’re getting into when we play them,” Troy Christian boys coach Ryan Zeman said of the physicality. “Anytime we play them, it’s going to be a brawl. We’re friendly rivals, and we wanted to prove ourselves.”

Early on, it looked like the Eagles may run away with the game.

On the first offensive push of the game, Trimbach jumped on a deflected ball just outside the box and right in front of the goal, drilling a perfectly-placed shot into the upper 90 to give Troy Christian a 1-0 lead just 1:10 into the game.

And Strait followed that up shortly after that, carrying the ball into Miami East’s zone and even past the goaltender, depositing in a shot that gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead with 28:39 left until halftime.

“I challenged them to have a quick start,” Zeman said. “That was the whole motivation today. If we don’t start quick, we get in a hole and it’s hard to get out of. Trimbach had a great goal that led us right off the bat, and we ended up getting that second one (a few minutes later).”

That start hurt the Vikings (2-1-2), also, even though they continued to fight the rest of the way.

“We’ve always got a lot of energy. Unfortunately, when we get ourselves in a hole early, it’s a very difficult deficit to overcome,” Miami East boys coach Adam Bell said. “We did get one right before the end of the first half, but Troy Christian started to drop some defenders back, and we knew they were going to start packing the box more. Efficiency on crosses is really what hamstrung us in this one.”

The Vikings began to build a little momentum before halftime, though, and with 1:07 left on the clock, Parker Heim hammered home a shot from the left side to cut the deficit to 2-1 at the break.

“Letting in that one right before the half was tough,” Zeman said. “It kind of changed the momentum.”

Both teams had chances in the second half, but Miami East controlled play for most of it — and was simply unable to put a shot home. The nearest miss came with only 4:45 remaining in the game when Wesley Sutherly headed a cross that got behind the keeper and rolled wide left by mere inches, and Troy Christian was able to close out the win.

“Just barely,” Bell said. “That’s kind of been our luck. Just a gust from the gods pushes it off frame. But the kids fought hard. We’ve got one of the tougher schedules in Division III this year, so we knew every game would be a battle like this.”

Both teams face tough opponents on Tuesday, with Miami East facing West Liberty-Salem and Troy Christian taking on Botkins.

* Girls

Troy Christian’s girls soccer team missed a pair of prime chances to score early in the first half Saturday against Miami East.

When the Vikings put home a penalty kick with 14:03 remaining to tie the score at 1-1, those missed chances looked even bigger.

But Lexi Salazar scored her second goal of the game with 3:07 left to play, and Eagle goalkeeper Cara Salazar turned away the Vikings’ last push as the clock expired to help Troy Christian (3-1-1) hang on for a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Miami East (2-3) Saturday at Eagle Stadium.

“I was really proud of the way the girls stepped up,” Troy Christian girls coach Brian Peters said. “We only have 13 girls, so a large portion of them play all 80 minutes. For them to be playing as hard as they play, the desire and will to win … and all week long, we worked on playing as a unit, and it was much better than in games past. I saw a lot more unselfish shooting, especially around the top of the box. It’ll come, but this was a big win for us.”

“We know this is always going to be a tough game,” Miami East girls coach Lil Carson said. “We haven’t been playing particularly well this year, but to be able to keep it close and play with them for the whole game, we can’t hang our heads about that.”

The score was tied 0-0 at halftime, with the Eagles missing on two truly dangerous shots. Less than four minutes into the game, Lexi Salazar beat East goalkeeper Kelly Buck, leaving no one between her and the goal — only to have her shot sail wide right. And with 25 minutes left in the half, Morgan Taylor hit the crossbar from 25 yards out, and Riley Spoltman’s shot on the rebound ended up going wide.

Each time Miami East had an opportunity in the first half, though, Cara Salazar was there to cut it off before it became dangerous. The junior keeper made a number of tough saves, as well as cutting off numerous crosses and intercepting passes that went too far.

“Cara, I think, is hands down the best female keeper out there,” Peters said. “Of course, I’m biased. But in the first half, she’s really what kept us in the game. She had a number of quality saves. And she sets the tone, the pace, of the game for us. When things are getting a little rattled, she knows when to send us long, switch fields, she talks to her backs well. We would not be who we are without Cara.”

Less than four minutes into the second half, the Eagles finally took the advantage. Freshman Ryann Spoltman served a corner kick to the far side of the goal, where Lexi Salazar was waiting to head it in and make the score 1-0 Troy Christian with 36:38 to go in the game.

With 14:03 to go, though, Miami East was awarded a penalty kick. Hailey Weaver took the kick and went left, and while Cara Salazar was able to get a hand on it, she couldn’t deflect it enough and the ball went in to tie the score at 1-1.

Buck made a tough save on another breakaway attempt by Lexi Salazar with 9:00 to play, but with 3:07 to go, Lexi Salazar put one where Buck couldn’t have gotten it, turning and ripping in a shot from 20 yards out for the eventual game-winning score.

“This only makes us better,” Carson said. “We’re very, very young. One big problem we’ve had is that we panic under pressure, so to stay in a game like this, it’s only going to make us better.”

Both teams are back in action Tuesday, with Miami East facing West Liberty-Salem and Troy Christian traveling to National Trail.

Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.

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Anthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Andrew Strait (13) and Miami East’s Dahlton Black (8) race down the field Saturday at Troy Christian.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_170909aw_ME_8_TC_13.jpgAnthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Andrew Strait (13) and Miami East’s Dahlton Black (8) race down the field Saturday at Troy Christian.

Anthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Jared Trimbach brings the ball up the field Saturday against Miami East.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_170909aw_ME_TC_5.jpgAnthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Jared Trimbach brings the ball up the field Saturday against Miami East.

Anthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Andrew Strait fires off a shot Saturday against Miami East.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_170909aw_ME_TC_13.jpgAnthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Andrew Strait fires off a shot Saturday against Miami East.

Anthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Connor Peters (4) and Miami East’s Wesley Sutherly (7) go up for a header Saturday.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_170909aw_ME_7_TC_4.jpgAnthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Connor Peters (4) and Miami East’s Wesley Sutherly (7) go up for a header Saturday.

Anthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Andrew Strait (13) heads the ball in front of Miami East’s Dylan Hahn Saturday.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_170909aw_ME_5_TC_13.jpgAnthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Andrew Strait (13) heads the ball in front of Miami East’s Dylan Hahn Saturday.

Anthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Riley Hall (2) and Miami East’s Dylan Hahn (5) collide going for the ball Saturday.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_170909aw_ME_5_TC_2.jpgAnthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Riley Hall (2) and Miami East’s Dylan Hahn (5) collide going for the ball Saturday.

Anthony Weber/Troy Daily News Miami East’s Dalton Taynor (9) makes a move on Troy Christian’s Riley Hall (2) Saturday.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_170909aw_ME_9_TC_2.jpgAnthony Weber/Troy Daily News Miami East’s Dalton Taynor (9) makes a move on Troy Christian’s Riley Hall (2) Saturday.

Anthony Weber/Troy Daily News Miami East’s Parker Heim battles with Troy Christian’s Tristan Miller for the ball Saturday.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_170909aw_ME_1_TC_20.jpgAnthony Weber/Troy Daily News Miami East’s Parker Heim battles with Troy Christian’s Tristan Miller for the ball Saturday.

Anthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Riley Hall (2) tries to get around Miami East’s Dylan Hahn (5) Saturday.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_170909aDw_ME_5_TC_2.jpgAnthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Riley Hall (2) tries to get around Miami East’s Dylan Hahn (5) Saturday.

Anthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Jared Trimbach (5) gets around Miami East’s Jackson Davis (14) Saturday at Troy Christian.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_170909aw_ME14_TC_5.jpgAnthony Weber/Troy Daily News Troy Christian’s Jared Trimbach (5) gets around Miami East’s Jackson Davis (14) Saturday at Troy Christian.
Eagle boys, girls post 2-1 wins