By Josh Brown
TROY — As good as the Troy boys soccer team looked Saturday night, coach Richard Phillips thought they could look better still.
The Tecumseh Arrows don’t want to think about that.
Jake Diffenderfer Gabbard scored a pair of goals, Mack Sherman added another and the Trojan defense kept what little counterattack the Arrows could muster from turning into goals — but Troy still had plenty of chances to make the score even more lopsided but couldn’t capitalize despite posting a convincing 3-0 victory in its home opener Saturday at Troy Memorial Stadium.
And while Troy (2-0) controlled play most of the game — particularly in the first half — by utilizing a mix of long runs, short passes, quality dribbling and tenacity in winning 50-50 balls to maintain possession of the ball, Phillips said that it was still an area the team could improve on.
“In the first half, we should have done a better job of possessing the ball, of using both sides of the field to stretch out the defense and then exploit the middle,” he said. “We also didn’t play as quick as we should have. I was disappointed in our possession in the first half.”
Still, Troy’s play led to plenty of pressure on the Tecumseh goal, including a breakaway attempt by Grant Holland with 21:20 left in the half — the first of many by the Trojans. And, like all of the other breakaways Troy had in the game, Arrow keeper Ridge O’Daniel was able to turn away the shot.
There was only so much he could do, though, as Troy kept the pressure on. And with 18:56 left in the half, Sherman dished to Diffenderfer Gabbard, who ripped a shot just out of a diving O’Daniel’s reach and into the very corner of the upper 90 to make it 1-0 Troy.
Tecumseh (0-2) was able to mount some token pressure, sending a long pass a little too far and allowing Troy keeper Alex Williams to play the ball. He waited and wouldn’t pick the ball up until the closest Arrow player made a play on it, finally picking it up and sending it the other way — which led to the exact opposite result.
Troy sent a pass in a little too far, giving O’Daniel a chance to play it. He waited too long to make his play, though, and Sherman had been hustling the entire way, reaching the goal at full speed. A moment of indecision kept O’Daniel from picking the ball up and made him try to kick it away before Sherman got there, but Sherman turned it into a 50-50 ball situation — and won it, blocking the kick directly into the goal to make it 2-0 Troy with 10:39 left in the half.
“That goal showed exactly what we need to do. We need to follow up every ball,” Phillips said. “And that first goal (by Diffenderfer Gabbard) was a nice shot.”
It remained 2-0 until the half, and the second half began with some familiar play — a Trojan breakaway that was stopped by O’Daniel. Tecumseh finally got a scoring chance with a free kick from 25 yards out with 32 minutes to play, but the shot was sent high. And one minute later, Diffenderfer Gabbard got free on a long run from midfield, working his way around the Arrow defense for a breakaway and beating O’Daniel to the far-post side — only to have the ball hit the post and harmlessly bounce away.
Two more Troy breakaways led to a saved shot and a shot that missed wide, but with 8:49 to play the Trojans were awarded an indirect kick from roughly 20 yards out. J.T. Yenney connected with Diffenderfer Gabbard streaking toward the goal, and the latter scored his second goal of the night by hitting the ball just on the underside of the crossbar.
“That was a nice set-up,” Phillips said. “It was a good touch on the ball from Yenney and a great finish by Diffenderfer.”
Last season, the Arrows went 14-2 — with the lone regular-season loss coming at the hands of the Trojans, 3-2 at Tecumseh in the second game of the year. They’re still a capable team, however, and Troy’s defense shut them down, with Williams recording six saves to post the shutout.
Troy remains at home for its next matchup Tuesday, hosting Northmont.
Tipp 1, Butler 0
VANDALIA — Oakwood. Northmont. And now Butler.
Tippecanoe has been on a tour of some of the toughest teams in the area to start the season. And all three times, the result has been the same, with the Red Devils improving to 3-0 after its third straight 1-0 victory Saturday night, this time on the road against the Aviators.
Collin Tateman scored the lone goal of the game Saturday for the Red Devils.
Two of the three victories for the Devils this season have avenged losses from last year — Tippecanoe lost 1-0 to Oakwood and 2-1 to Butler last season.
Tippecanoe finishes its three-game road trip Wednesday at Indian Lake.
Bethel 3, Brookville 0
BROOKVILLE — Brookville started Saturday’s game against Bethel strong, but in the end the undefeated Bees (3-0) wore down the Blue Devils in a 3-0 road victory.
Tyler Brueckman scored twice in the second half for Bethel, while Evan Hawthorn opened up the scoring late in the first half. Korry Hamlin assisted on the first two goals, and Coleman Clark assisted on the last.
“This was probably our best game of the year,” Bethel coach Bob Hamlin said. “Brookville passed the ball and moved it very well in the beginning of the game. However, we settled in, and midway through the half we started to control more of the play and put more pressure on them. Hawthorn’s first-half goal got us started, and then Brueckman scored two minutes into the second half to ice the game.
“This was Chris Terrian’s first shutout in goal, and he played his best game of the season in net.”
Bethel returns home Thursday, hosting Cross County Conference rival Newton.
Tipp 3, Miamisburg 1
MIAMISBURG — The Tippecanoe volleyball team won the first two games easily at Miamisburg Saturday, then bounced back from a narrow third-set loss to close out the match in four, 25-16, 25-12, 25-27, 25-18.
Aubrey Cox led the Red Devils (2-1) with 12 kills and five blocks, Alyssa Crusey had 10 kills and two aces, Kara Trimbach had 41 assists, Jordan McMahan had 15 digs, Audrey Trick had nine digs and two aces, Taylor Prall has three blocks and Taylor Waltemathe had two aces.
Tippecanoe travels to Stebbins Tuesday to open Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division play.
* Girls Soccer
Tipp 0, Northmont 0
CLAYTON — Tippecanoe’s girls soccer team battled Northmont to a 0-0 draw Saturday night.
The Red Devils (2-0-1) host Indian Lake Wednesday.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.