By Luke Severt
For the Troy Daily News
TROY — While Troy sophomore Julianna Williams was preparing for a corner kick early in the match on Wednesday, Troy girl soccer coach Michael Rasey called out a play for his girls to run, reverberating the words “New York, New York!” across the field.
The cross was executed well, but the ball was deflected out of bounds by a Xenia player, giving the Trojans another corner kick. Rasey yelled, “Again! Again!”
This time, Williams’ kick was placed in the perfect position for freshman Maddie Brewer, who performed a pirouette as she redirected the pass into the back of the net with her head — the first of two insurance goals the Trojans scored en route to a 3-0 win over the Buccaneers in Greater Western Ohio Conference American League crossover play at Troy Memorial Stadium.
The assist by Williams was one of three she had on the night, and she currently sits at third in the GWOC for assists with seven on the season.
“You have to hand it to Julianna Williams tonight,” said Rasey. “Three assists for her, Maddie Brewer with her second varsity goal … we’ve got some dangerous weapons.”
The team’s most dangerous weapon Wednesday — and, according to Rasey, one of the most dangerous in the area — was senior Kiyha Adkins, who had two goals in the match.
Last season, Adkins was the Trojans’ second-leading scorer and was fourth in the GWOC American North Division with 15 goals. However, this fall, she couldn’t seem to get on the board, with no goals in her first four games of the season.
She broke that stretch with a goal in the team’s win over West Carrollton on Monday, and she hasn’t looked back since.
“I think when I scored against West Carrollton, that first goal definitely broke the seal that I was stuck behind,” said Adkins. “I’m excited to be back out there and doing what I can to help my team out.”
Rasey, however, believes that Adkins has been helping the team all season.
“You have to remember that even though Kiyha may not have scored a goal in the first two games, she was being double-teamed, she was getting attention from other teams, and so she was creating opportunities for everybody else,” said Rasey. “Now, since you can’t just guard one player, we’re getting balanced scoring, and she was able to get into the action tonight. The goals will come.”
Only six minutes into the game, Williams was streaking down the sideline when she spotted Adkins open near the middle of the field. With a beautiful cross, Williams was able to connect with her, and Adkins easily chipped it passed the goalkeeper for a 1-0 Trojan lead.
The second goal was Brewer’s header, which occurred with 26 minutes left to play in the first half.
With less than a minute left in the opening half, senior defender Megan Malott executed a defensive steal against a Xenia player and sent the ball the other way with a pass to Williams. She directed it on to Adkins, who made the last Buccaneer defender fall, and there was nothing but green grass between her and the goalkeeper.
Adkins advanced the ball, waiting for the keeper to break towards it, and gently tapped it into the wide-open net when she did.
Despite her multi-goal performance, Adkins was quick to credit Williams for her passing game on Wednesday, and throughout the entire season.
“It’s very important,” she said. “If you don’t have a good pass, you’re not going to get it off your foot the right way, and the ball can go wherever. Julianna and I work very well together. I think that we know each other and how we expect the balls to be, so we can put it in the net.”
Not only were the Trojans victorious, they also gained redemption. Last year, they were defeated 2-1 in a tough game by the Buccaneers — a game that propelled the Trojans to a 7-1-1 finish to the regular season.
“Of course, it makes it a little sweeter,” said Rasey about the win. “But for us, we’re really only worried about this year.”
It was Troy’s fifth straight win following a 5-3 loss to open its season against a very strong Centerville team. The Trojan defense, and junior goalkeeper Paige Nadolny, have not allowed a goal since the loss.
“Xenia’s one of the best teams we’ve played this year, and I’m proud of how our defense played,” said Rasey. “I think that’s five shutouts in a row, and that proves that we are a complete team, from our defense all the way up to our forwards.”
Xenia, which entered the night as the GWOC American South leader, fell to 2-3-2 and 1-3-2 in division play on the season with the loss. The Trojans, now 5-1 and 4-0 in the GWOC American North, will travel to play a Springboro team that sits in first place in the GWOC’s National West Division on Monday before beginning a stretch of league play against GWOC North competition.
“We know we’re going into a pretty tough stretch of our schedule right now,” said Rasey. “We’ve got six games in nine days and five straight games on the road starting with Springboro. We’ve got our season ahead of us, and right now we control our own destiny. We’re looking forward to seeing what we can do against some better teams.”