By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — Entering the new season, the biggest question surrounding the Troy girls soccer team was how its defensive backfield would replace a pair of four-year starters.
In their opener, the Trojans’ offense made it a moot point.
A pair of Trojans scored hat tricks and Troy dominated possession of the ball all night long Wednesday against Greenville, only allowing the Green Wave past midfield a handful of times and never allowing them to mount any semblance of a counterattack in a dominant 13-0 season-opening showing at Troy Memorial Stadium, the Trojans’ first-ever victory as a member of the new Miami Valley League.
Troy (1-0, 1-0 MVL Miami Division) fired off more than 50 shots on the night while only allowing two by Greenville (0-1, 0-1 MVL Miami) — with both of those shots merely being hail marys from midfield that were easily collected by the Trojans’ goalies, one each by Paige Nadolny and Jovie Studebaker to combine on the shutout.
And though the defenders didn’t get much actual work, they were able to get first-game jitters out under fairly controlled circumstances, with a much tougher challenge coming Saturday afternoon against Gahanna Lincoln.
“They did a good job today getting that first exposure to varsity action,” Troy coach Michael Rasey said. “It was good for them to work out some of the nerves for when we play a tough opponent on Saturday, one of the best teams out of Columbus.”
The Troy offense, meanwhile, ensured that Greenville was under fire from the start, forcing its starting keeper to make a one-on-one save in the game’s first 20 seconds. And once the first score went up on the board, with Julianna Williams finishing off a cross with 36:13 remaining in the first half, they started going up in bunches.
Leah Harnish beat the goalkeeper one-on-one at the 34:38 mark to make it 2-0, then Maddie Brewer scored with 30:19 on the clock to give Troy three goals in the game’s first 10 minutes. Abby Westfall then knocked a high-arcing 40-yard shot into the upper 90 with 26:52 left in the half to make it 4-0, and then Williams stole the ball at midfield and weaved through a trio of Wave defenders to rip in her second goal of the night to make it 5-0 with 23:24 on the clock.
Then came the fastest two goals of the night, with Eva Raskay heading in a cross to make it 6-0 with 13:46 left in the first half, then Harnish slashed through the defense on the ensuing kickoff and scored a mere 13 seconds later to make it 7-0 with 13:33 left until the break — and that’s where things remained at halftime.
“The girls looked confident,” Rasey said. “They looked like a confident group of girls. One of our themes this year is don’t overlook us or don’t look down on us, and I think these girls have something to prove. They know they have big shoes to fill from the class that just graduated, and I think they proved tonight that they can handle that.”
With the running clock turned on in the second half per the OHSAA mercy rule, Troy did its best to knock the ball around and eat up time. Brewer began the second half with a pair of goals, one at 36:23 and one at 34:21, to give her a hat trick on the night, then Briana Soto floated in a long shot with 15:46 remaining to make it a 10-0 game. Harnich then tapped in a pass by Alexis Carroll with 14:45 on the clock and then drove in a long shot with 4:07 remaining to give herself a hat trick, as well. Ali Davis then added one final goal in the final 10 seconds to make it a 13-0 win.
On the night, Harnish had three goals and two assists, Brewer had three goals, Williams had two goals and two assists, Carroll had a goal and an assist, Davis, Westfall, Raskay and Soto each scored a goal, Chamber Browning had two assists and Anna Burghardt had one assist.
And while Troy was happy to start play in the MVL with a division win, it’s looking forward to testing itself against a high-caliber team like Gahanna Lincoln on Saturday — a game that was originally scheduled to be played at night but now will be moved to the early afternoon and played at Ferguson Field.
“Whenever you start a season, it’s good to get the ‘W,’ and it’s good to get a league win,” Rasey said. “It’s kind of hard to measure what the team is ultimately capable of yet, but Saturday will be the true test of where this team actually is and how good we are, which is why you play that kind of opponent.
“Nobody can accuse us of playing an easy schedule. We’ll get a chance to see what we’re made of Saturday.”
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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