By Josh Brown
TROY — Troy goaltender Nicholas Griswold fought off his nerves.
But Troy boys soccer coach Richard Phillips calmly sat watching from the bench.
Because throughout the season, the Trojans earned Phillips faith — and Thursday night, they showed why.
After 110 minutes of scoreless soccer — 80 minutes of regulation and a pair of 15-minute overtimes in which neither team could dent the scoreboard — Thursday’s Division I sectional second-round matchup at Troy Memorial Stadium between No. 4 Troy and No. 7 Miamisburg came down to a shootout. Troy’s first four shooters all converted their chances, while Miamisburg’s second one hit his shot wide left and Griswold stuffed the fourth and final shooter to seal a 4-2 shootout win and hand the Trojans a 1-0 victory, propelling them into next week’s sectional final against the defending state champion.
Griswold was candid about the pressure he faced on the final shot.
“I was holding down throw up the whole time,” Griswold told a teammate after the game. “I swear there was throw up in my throat.”
Phillips, though, simply watched the shootout while sitting on the bench. With both teams sending five shooters in to decide the game, he had complete faith in the coaches’ choices and in his players.
“When you get down to penalty shots, it just comes down to who’s going to execute,” Phillips said. “We picked five guys, and I think the pressure was on those guys to finish it. When we get into our training sessions, we spend some time with that, as well, so that confidence was there for them. And also, this was their last home match, and they wanted to go out strong. They wanted it.
“Just having the confidence in them was the main thing. Having the confidence in (Griswold) and the guys taking the shots. If you don’t have the confidence, you sit there and you’re a nervous wreck. But I had the confidence in them and just relaxed and let them do it — and it happened for them.”
Connor Hubbell started the shootout with a goal for Troy, but Miamisburg’s Ben Sundermann answered. Kasheen Perdue was next up for the Trojans and drove his shot in … but Aaron Sundermann hit his shot wide left, giving Troy a 2-1 edge. Jon Hipolito then converted his chance to give Troy a 3-1 lead, meaning one more missed chance by Miamisburg would end it. Graham Gilkison went right with his shot and Griswold guessed right, getting a hand on it but not enough to keep it from going in, keeping the Vikings alive.
Tyler Owens made Troy a perfect 4 for 4, bringing up David Dickman for the Vikings. The Trojans potentially could have clinched the match with one more goal on the fifth shot, but Griswold put an early end to the shootout by stopping Dickman’s shot, sealing the win early and setting off a huge celebration on the field.
In the end, Griswold fought back the nerves — and vomit — and executed.
“I was just thinking of all of the videos I’ve seen online of keepers making that last save,” Griswold said. “I just read his hips and dove — and kept my eyes open. That third one, I closed them at the last second.”
It capped off an epic battle between the two evenly-matched teams, with Troy improving to 16-2 on the season and advancing to Monday’s sectional final against top-seeded Beavercreek, a 4-0 winner over No. 11 Sidney on Monday, and Miamisburg finishing the season 9-7-2.
“We played 80 minutes and then another 30 minutes, and you have to give both teams credit,” Phillips said. “They both played hard. They tried their best to get the win.”
It was also the Trojans’ fifth straight win as the team has battled through injuries all season long, particularly down the stretch. In fact, Troy has played both of its postseason games so far missing a handful of players, including seniors Bailey Webb — the team’s third-leading scorer this season — and Alex Bridge.
“I knew we wanted it more and deserved it,” said Griswold, also a senior. “The season we’ve had, the injuries we’ve had, the way we’ve fought through it, we deserved to go on, in my opinion — I might be biased. I think we wanted it in our hearts more than they did.”
Both teams had chances throughout regulation and beyond. Griswold finished the match with seven saves, while Miamisburg’s Colin Murphy stopped 15 Trojans shots.
Troy had near misses at the end of both halves in regulation, with a 40-yard shot sailing just high with five seconds left in the first half and Elijah Williams cutting across the middle of the field to take a 20-yarder with 50 seconds left in the second half, only to have Murphy make an impressive diving save to force overtime.
And with one minute left in the first overtime, Connor Hubbell got the ball on a two-on-one break and crossed it to the other side, but his teammate barely could not get a header on it to redirect it, and the game remained tied. Miamisburg controlled most of the second overtime, but Troy’s defense was able to keep the Vikings off the board and force the shootout.
“Once we got out of regulation and into the overtime period, you could tell we had the desire to do it. But not the legs,” Phillips said. “It was a hard match.
“I’m really happy for them and proud of them. They deserved this, the seniors especially, and especially with the injuries we’ve had during the course of the year. This, for the seniors, was nice to go out in their last home match with a 16-2 record.”
It was Troy’s first overtime game since 2014 and only the Trojans’ second since 2005. In 2014, Troy defeated Sidney 2-1 in double overtime, and in 2006 they defeated Northmont 4-3 in overtime. It was also Troy High School’s second overtime matchup against Miamisburg this week. On Tuesday, the Trojan girls soccer team lost 2-1 to the Vikings — with both teams also seeded No. 4 and No. 7, respectively.
Troy’s boys will face defending D-I state champion Beavercreek (13-3-1) in the sectional final Monday in Xenia.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.