By Josh Brown
TROY — The Troy girls soccer team may end up being the worst kept secret in the area this season.
“It won’t be a secret for too long that we’ve got some pretty special players,” Troy coach Michael Rasey said.
Even with a lineup dealing with injuries — and the loss of last year’s leading scorer for the year before the season even began — the Trojans followed a hard-fought loss to Centerville in its opener earlier this week by bouncing back with a strong showing against visiting Wayne Wednesday night at Troy Memorial Stadium, with four different players scoring goals and a defense that only allowed three shots on goal in a 4-0 Troy victory.
Ciena Miller — who is making her return this season after leading the team in scoring her sophomore year and missing her entire junior season with an injury — Megan Malott, Julianna Williams and freshman Maddie Brewer each scored a goal for Troy (1-1) against the Warriors (0-3), the second solid offensive performance in a row to start the season. On Monday, the Trojans took a 2-0 lead against Centerville — a team they haven’t beaten in more than a decade — eventually falling 5-3. Entering this season, Troy had scored three goals against the Elks in the past six years combined.
“With Kiyha (Adkins), Julianna, freshman Maddie Brewer stepping in and scoring her first goal tonight, Ciena Miller coming back … and the way we’re playing, we get an outside back to score one of our goals,” Rasey said. “If we can get that kind of production, we’ll score a lot of goals this entire season.”
Troy created heavy pressure early in Wednesday’s matchup against Wayne, with Adkins’ speed on the outside creating all kinds of problems for the Warriors’ defense. But Wayne’s sophomore goalkeeper Sophie Coulibaly got just enough of a pair of shots on breakaways to keep them out of the goal and keep Troy off the scoreboard.
Eventually, though, Troy cashed in at the 33:15 mark of the first half, with Adkins hitting a shot that Coulibaly deflected … right to Miller in front of the open goal, and Miller jammed in the rebound to put Troy on top 1-0.
Coulibaly continued to make quality plays to keep Wayne within one, but with 4:24 left in the half, Ali Davis sent a long diagonal pass in to the left side of the box, where Malott fought off a pair of defenders to get to the ball and tap it in to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.
“Their goalkeeper definitely made some big saves early on that did keep the score close throughout that first half,” Rasey said. “And give credit to their coach. He had them ready to play, and their defense did a pretty good job against our speed. But in the end, I do believe that our overall talent was able to help us get the victory tonight.”
And even though Wayne managed to hang around for a while, Troy’s defense — even with senior Josalyn Abrams hurt and out of the lineup — made sure that the Warriors never got back into the game, only allowing three shots on the night, none of them particularly dangerous. With 34 minutes left in the game, Wayne’s Lydia Pinsenschaum managed to carry the ball around the right side of the defense and turn to take a contested shot, but it floated high — the Warriors’ best chance to score in the game.
“My back five played lights out tonight,” Rasey said. “And that’s even being down a two-year starter with Josalyn for this game. Lily Clouser’s been a rock back there for four years. Laura Borchers stepped up in a big way last year, and in this particular game you had Ali Davis, Chamber Browning and even Megan Malott, who made the transition to defense, having huge nights.”
And one of Troy’s biggest question marks entering the year was how they would replace graduated goalie Molly Miller, but junior Paige Nadolny made all three saves Wednesday to post her first shutout.
“It’s important, regardless of how many you score, to get a shutout whenever you can,” Rasey said. “And Paige wasn’t tested too much tonight, but having someone in the goal that you can trust and rely on is good. She has big shoes to fill. She made some big saves on Monday night, and I think having her in there gives our defense come confidence.”
With the defense keeping Wayne in check, the Trojans scored a pair of rapid-fire goals to put the game away early in the second half. With 32:59 remaining, Williams hit a trickler out of a pile-up in front of the Wayne goal that snuck in to make the score 3-0, and with 29:52 on the clock, Brewer got the ball in open space and struck a 25-yarder that sailed past the keeper and inside the far post to give Troy a four-goal lead.
Adkins had a pair of assists in the game, while Miller and Davis each added one.
“We were not as hyped as we were for Monday night’s game, being the season opener,” Rasey said. “It was a long day today, with the first day of school. But they were able to come out tonight and get the job done.”
Troy travels to Fairborn Saturday for its first Greater Western Ohio Conference American League crossover matchup.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.