By Luke Severt
For the Troy Daily News
TROY — While Troy junior Elijah Williams only missed the first two games of the season with an injured ankle, the implications of his injury lingered on, but never slowed him down.
Despite his ankle issues, he has played six games this season, three of which have been multi-goal performances. He has a total of nine goals on the year, and he currently sits tied for second in the Greater Western Ohio Conference in goals scored.
Two of those goals came Tuesday night as Williams scored twice against Sidney to help lead the Troy boys soccer team to a 4-0 victory in a GWOC American North Division matchup at Troy Memorial Stadium.
“I’m just happy to be back and playing after being hurt for the first three or four games,” said Williams. “Just happy that I have teammates that pass to me and support me so much on the field.”
Only 43 seconds into the match, Williams used his left foot to direct a high-bouncing ball across the box and into the net for his first goal of the night as the Trojans jump out to a 1-0 lead.
“It’s always good to get started early,” said Troy coach Richard Phillips. “It’s one of those things that we ask ourselves to do. When you get up, you put the pressure on them early. Once we get that first goal we can settle down and start doing things that we like to do, and then the pressure’s on them to tie it up. Any team really wants to get that first goal and get it as early as possible.”
Williams would add his second goal with 19:41 left in the first half, and the Trojans carried a 2-0 lead into halftime.
After the break, Connor Hubbell blasted a shot that was deflected off of the Sidney goalkeeper’s gloves right to Bailey Webb, who tapped it in for an easy goal and a 3-0 lead with 35:46 left in the game. Minutes later, Hubbell booted a corner kick to Kasheen Perdue, who headed the ball into the back of the net to send the Trojans up by four, and the score would remain 4-0 for the remainder of the match.
“In the first half, we moved the ball well for a while, and then when we started substituting we didn’t control the midfield,” said Phillips. “We came back in the second half and started doing a better job of controlling the midfield, keeping the ball on the ground and creating some more chances for us.”
Troy’s defense was flawless on Tuesday, as the Trojans posted their fifth shutout of the season.
“Defensively, we held our position well,” said Phillips. “They never really challenged us as far as getting behind us, and we kept our shape most of the game.”
It was the second head-to-head match against a GWOC American North division opponent of the season for the Trojans, as they move to 2-0 against North Division teams. Troy kept pace with GWOC American North co-leaders Butler and Tippecanoe atop the division standings at 6-0 with the win and improved to 7-1 overall.
“We’re comfortable in that we’re 2-0 in the North,” said Phillips. “Other than that, no, because it’s different every game, we have to come out and be ready to play each match. It’s gonna be just one game at a time. We’re 2-0 in the North, and we’re comfortable being 2-0, but what’s ahead of us is what we’re going to have to prepare for.”
Moving forward, the Trojans will play Trotwood-Madison at home on Thursday before entering the toughest stretch of their schedule, including matches against solid Butler, Tippecanoe and Northmont squads.
Williams feels confident about the way he and his teammates have been playing talent-wise, but he also believes that talent may not be the most important aspect of their game.
“Most of us have been playing together for two or three, sometimes four years,” he said. “Also, a lot us have been playing club and out of school together. That’s obviously the reason that, if we aren’t as skilled as other teams, that’s going to be the reason why we win.”