By Josh Brown
TROY — A hat trick in the first 5:30 wasn’t enough to do Troy in.
An out-of-nowhere rebound off the crossbar, however, did the trick.
Down only one at halftime, the Troy boys soccer team fought its way back from three early goals by the Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division’s leading scorer, Centerville’s Jarrod Ferstl. The Trojans couldn’t find a way to even the score, though, and a second-chance goal by Erik Dodds kicked off a run of three straight second-half goals as the Elks pulled away for a 6-3 victory Saturday night at Troy Memorial Stadium.
Chasing his fourth goal of the night, Ferstl hit a shot that found its way over Troy’s keeper’s head but banged hard off the crossbar with 21:30 left in the game. Dodds beat the Trojans to the ball and hammered it into the center of the net to make the score 4-2, and suddenly all of the energy Troy had spent bouncing back from Centerville’s rapid-fire start to the game caught up with it.
“It was a one-goal game at the half, but that ball off the crossbar and the rebound goal took the wind out of our sails,” Troy coach Richard Phillips said. “We couldn’t recover after that.
“We were able to get back in the game after falling behind, but to get to that next level, to even the game, we needed to get that final pass, that final ball. And we couldn’t get that all night.”
Early on, Centerville (4-1-3) only needed one pass — any pass that got the ball to Ferstl.
A mere 2:20 into the game, Troy turned the ball over at midfield, and one pass through the defense allowed Ferstl to get free on a breakaway. He beat the Trojans’ keeper one-on-one to put Centerville on top. And 34 seconds later, Ferstl got behind the defense again, putting Troy down 2-0 with 37:06 left in the first half.
“We were disappointed in the first five minutes,” Phillips said. “We let them get behind us. We lost possession in the midfield, and then they went direct on us to get behind the defense. They took advantage (of Ferstl’s speed).”
Two minutes later, though, Troy cut the lead in half as Jake Diffenderfer Gabbard sent a ball through that set up a breakaway by Grant Holland. Holland won a challenge by the Elks’ goalie, stuck with the ball and put it into the empty net to make it 2-1.
But 39 seconds after that, Ferstl one-timed in a free ball in the Troy box, finishing off his hat trick with 34:28 still to play in the first half. Troy wasn’t done, though, as Holland stole the ball in Centerville’s end and ripped home a point-blank shot with 24:22 left until halftime — and 3-2 is where things stood at the break.
The two goals matched the amount of goals the Trojans have scored against the Elks since 2005. In 2009, Troy tied Centerville 1-1, and in 2006 the Trojans won 1-0 in the regular season — only to lose 2-0 in the playoffs. Entering the night since 2005, Troy was 1-9-1 against Centerville by a combined score of 38-2.
Play was even throughout the start of the second half, but Centerville got one big offensive push that led to Dodds’ rebound goal that made it 4-2. With 16:09 to play, Tyler Smith converted a penalty kick, and with 14:29 to go Dodds added another insurance goal to make it a 6-2 game.
Holland scored on a penalty kick of his own to complete a hat trick with 12:24 to go, but it was too little, too late.
“They were just quicker than we were tonight, got to the ball quicker than we did,” Phillips said.
Since beginning the season 4-0, Troy has now split its past four games to fall to 6-2 on the year. The Trojans returns to GWOC North Division play Tuesday against Trotwood.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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