By Josh Brown
PIQUA — Troy’s road to redemption, oddly enough, began immediately after its worst defeat of the season during its most disappointing one.
And it’s leading the Trojans into the postseason while they’re playing their best.
Wednesday night, they finished off the regular season with a solid victory at Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division rival Piqua as the Troy girls soccer team pulled away in the second half with a pair of goals by freshman Maddie Brewer to put away a 4-0 victory over the Indians on the road.
“I’m proud of the girls. We seem to be finding our stride in these last few games,” Troy coach Michael Rasey said. “We had good team play tonight, our defense was excellent. Even tonight, missing our leading goal scorer, we put in four goals. In our last couple games — our last three games, really — we’ve played really well.”
With the win, Troy finished the regular season 11-5 overall and 9-1 in the GWOC American North Division, finishing one game behind champion Tippecanoe — which clinched the title outright with a 1-0 victory at Butler Wednesday. In fact, Troy’s 1-0 loss to Tippecanoe, in which the Trojans played what Rasey called the best soccer they’d played all season at the time, began the team’s strong run to close the regular season leading into next week’s sectional tournament — where it will kick things off against a team that it lost to, as the fourth-seeded Trojans take on No. 7 Miamisburg Tuesday at home. On Sept. 24, the Vikings defeated the Trojans 2-0 in Miamisburg.
“It’s a chance for us to redeem ourselves,” Rasey said. “When we played them a few weeks ago, it wasn’t in the best conditions. It was rainy, and we played at their place, on one of the biggest fields in Dayton. To get them again at home, to get home-field advantage, I like our chances.”
They’re not the only familiar team in the bracket, though, as sixth-seeded Sidney awaits the winner in the second round, with No. 2 Centerville the likely sectional final opponent. Troy defeated Sidney 2-1 in the regular season — which is reminiscent of last year, where the Yellow Jackets upset the Trojans in the postseason after a regular-season loss.
But Rasey’s memory went back even farther.
“It reminds me of 2011, where we lost to Wayne and Sidney late in the regular season, and then we beat them both in the tournament,” he said. “Both Miamisburg and Sidney decided to jump into our bracket with the belief that they can beat us. We went through a rough patch a few weeks ago for a bit, but we’ve been playing really well lately. We’re ready for the tournament.”
Wednesday against Piqua (5-7-3, 4-5-1 GWOC American North), the Trojans certainly looked ready.
Playing without scoring leader Julianna Williams — who is fourth in the division in scoring with 11 goals and 9 assists, both team-high totals for the Trojans — Troy still was able to grab an early advantage as Kiyha Adkins redirected a corner kick by Anna Burghardt into the net with 29:58 remaining in the first half to put Troy up 1-0.
And late in the first half, Chamber Browning stole the ball near midfield, carried it into Piqua territory around a defender and beat the Indian goalkeeper by ripping a 20-yarder past her with 3:17 on the clock to give Troy some insurance heading into halftime, up by two goals.
And in the second half, senior midfielder Ciena Miller and Brewer hooked up for a pair of similar goals. Both times, Miller sent long passes forward from the midfield line, and Brewer carried one and fired off a shot then one-touch redirected the other, both times with the same result — the ball in the net — at the 17:57 and 11:29 marks of the game.
“Ciena did a really good job of moving up to create chances for her teammates,” Rasey said. “She had excellent distribution of the ball, and Maddie scored two big goals as a result.”
Defensively, goalie Paige Nadolny made six saves to post her sixth shutout of the season and second in a row.
“With the way our defense has been playing, I felt pretty good with a one-goal lead. I felt like that might be enough,” Rasey said. “But it’s always nice to get extra insurance. And everyone was able to contribute tonight, which is a good thing as we head into the tournament.”
That tournament begins Tuesday with a rematch against Miamisburg at Troy Memorial Stadium.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.