By Luke Severt
For the Troy Daily News
TROY — “It’s really hitting me. Just now,” said Troy senior captain Connor Hubbell as he wiped the sweat from his forehead in the parking lot of Troy Memorial Stadium.
He was coming to the realization that his final regular season home game was over, and sooner than later, his Troy High School soccer career will be as well.
It was a night that the Trojans celebrated their seniors with festivities before the match. There was a lot of celebrating to do during the game, as well, as the Trojans dominated in an 8-0 Senior Night win over Piqua Tuesday at home.
“These seniors have brought us stability to this program that we lacked,” said Troy head coach Richard Phillips.
Hubbell capped off his career in memorable fashion, as he scored a goal, and even more impressively, assisted on five others.
“As an attacking midfielder or a defending midfielder, he has the engine to go box-to-box,” said Phillips about Hubbell. “Quality as far as technical ability and tactical ability. The five assists gives you the tactical ability, and also with those five assists is his technical ability. The ability to hold the ball, to possess the ball, and his first touch. He has an amazing first touch. He has all the tools to be one of the better midfielders that we’ve had.”
The parade of scoring kicked off with 27 minutes remaining in the first half, as Hubbell sent a corner kick across to junior Nathan Kleptz, who capitalized on his first of two goals on the night. Minutes later, another Hubbell corner was redirected into the back of the net, as senior captain Joey Sheehan gave the Trojans a 2-0 lead with 23 minutes left in the first.
“It was nice,” said Sheehan. “It was kind of what we wanted to happen, and it was just nice to get a goal in. It’s nice to score on your Senior Night.”
Less than three minutes later, Hubbell was gifted with a direct kick, and he capitalized on a screaming goal to put the Trojans up by three.
With six minutes left in the first half, another senior made his presence felt. On the edge of the penalty box, Kasheen Perdue saw a bit of open space in front of him and booted a long-distance shot on goal. It was placed perfectly and found its way into the bottom-left corner of the net, past the outstretched Piqua keeper for a 4-0 lead.
“I love all my teammates,” said Perdue after the match. ‘They’re like family to me, and it’s going to be sad leaving them.”
After being tripped in the box, junior Anthony Gonzalez lined up for a penalty kick and converted for a five-goal Trojan lead at half.
Following halftime, the match was all but over, yet the Trojans continued to add onto their lead. Kleptz’s second goal of the night came with 26 minutes left. Three minutes later, it was sophomore Gavin Marshall with a score, and with 14 minutes left Reece Sherman joined in on the fun with a goal of his own.
All three were assisted by Hubbell.
“Yeah,” said Hubbell when asked if it was special to have such an impact on the game on Senior Night. “That really ended my season, and it felt great.”
With the win, Greater Western Ohio Conference American League North play came to a close for the Trojans. They finished with a record of 9-1 in the conference, and 13-2 overall.
They finished in second in the conference to Tippecanoe, who defeated them last Tuesday and finished with a record of 9-0-1.
“We were disappointed in how we played at Tipp,” said Phillips. “It’s a game that we wanted, and we thought we could play better than we did. That was a disappointment for us this season.”
Moving forward, the Trojans will travel to Huber Heights to battle Wayne on Thursday before the team, a No. 4 seed in the postseason tournament, will take on Stebbins at home in the first round of the playoffs on Monday.
“Surprised we were the fourth seed,” said Phillips. “I thought we might have gotten the fifth seed, so I was surprised we got the fourth. Getting the fourth seed would get us that chance where we can play not a stronger team than us, but a team that can prepare us for the matches coming up. Giving us the fourth seed and playing against Stebbins, it gives us an opportunity to hone or tune a couple of the things we haven’t been able to do as a consistent level.”
Senior goalkeeper Zachariah Terrill made two saves to record a shutout, while Nicholas Griswold — Troy’s regular starting goalkeeper — also saw action in the field. Injured seniors Bailey Webb and Alex Bridge were also honored before the game.
While their season is not quite over yet, Senior Night is often a time of reflection for those who are having their careers come to a close.
When asked if his time playing on the soccer team at Troy will always be something he can look back on with fondness, Hubbell’s answer was simple.
“Yes, no doubt,” he said, with a bittersweet smile.