By Josh Brown
XENIA — Troy’s season may have come to an end in a loss to the defending state champion Monday.
But the Trojans can’t be defined by that one game.
Top-seeded Beavercreek scored a pair of first-half goals to take control and put away the game in the second half, cashing in on every Troy miscue in a 6-1 victory over the fourth-seeded Troy boys soccer team in the Division I sectional championship match Monday at Xenia’s Doug Adams Stadium.
“We finished 16-3 this year and had some quality wins,” Troy coach Richard Phillips said. “The kids worked hard, and the seniors had a good three years.”
The Trojans — who entered the night on a five-game winning streak, having defeated No. 7 Miamisburg in a shootout in the sectional semifinal to reach Monday night’s game — knew what they would be facing going up against the Beavers. In fact, they went into the postseason wanting a shot at Beavercreek (14-3-1).
Beavercreek simply did what state championship-caliber teams do.
“They’re a quality program, but if you look at the six goals they scored on us, it’s all mental mistakes,” Phillips said. “We made so many mistakes. When they put the pressure on you, they force you into mistakes — and the mistakes we made, we couldn’t stop them from capitalizing on them.”
The first score came less than three minutes into the match, as Beavercreek’s Hunter Jackson hit a long diagonal cross to Ryan Wightman, who headed the ball inside the far post to give the Beavers a 1-0 lead with 37:04 left in the first half. And with 17:56 left until the break, Phillip Wynn sent the ball to Jackson, who launched a 25-yard shot running forward that found its way past Troy’s diving keeper to makes the score 2-0.
“There’s always movement,” Phillips said. “They move without the ball, they did a lot of diagonal balls that caught us. They’re always moving, and when they do that, they put pressure on you and capitalize on it.”
Troy had its lone chance of the first half with 12:50 on the clock, as Jon Hipolito hit a 20-yard shot — but a defender deflected it into the air, making it an easy save for the Beavercreek keeper.
The long-range barrage continued in the second half as Pete Schneider fired one in from 30 yards out to make it a three-goal game with 37:27 remaining. And at the 35:56 mark, Vaughn Ernst drove in a free kick from just outside the box, making the score 4-0.
Troy finally answered after that, though, as Elijah Williams sprung Connor Hubbell behind the Beavercreek defense with a quality pass, and Hubbell converted the opportunity with 35:10 to go, cutting the deficit to 4-1.
That only seemed to make the Beavers more aggressive, though. Drew Vaughn got the ball to an open Schneider, who scored with 32:56 to play to make it a four-goal game again. And with 12:41 to play, Mitchell Manzardo hit a long, diagonal pass to Wightman, who redirected it in to make it 6-1, and that’s the way the game ended.
It just isn’t the full story of Troy’s season. The Trojans had an 11-game winning streak after dropping their season opener and finished second in the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division. Troy also dealt with injuries down the stretch, including missing a pair of senior leaders, Bailey Webb and Alex Bridge, for the last five and six games, respectively. Still, the Trojans fought to the end.
Monday’s match was the final one for seniors Hubbell, Bridge, Webb, Kasheen Perdue, Joey Sheehan, Nicholas Griswold and Zachariah Terrill. It was Troy’s second trip to the sectional final in the past three seasons.
“The seniors have had more than 40 wins (44) in the past three years,” Phillips said. “The first of those three years was an undefeated regular season, and they lost only one game against Springboro (in the sectional final). This senior class did really well.
“You have to be proud of what they accomplished. They played hard, they worked hard and they wanted to leave knowing that they gave everything they had.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.