By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — When Elijah Williams got a scoring chance late in a tight game against Miamisburg Saturday, he couldn’t help thinking about how he had hit the post with a shot early in the second half.
“That’s what was going through my head,” the Troy senior said. “That was really going to hurt if I missed that shot and we lost or tied because of that.”
The only hurt there was was the pain he inflicted on Miamisburg, though.
Williams not only scored the game-tying goal with 3:50 to play, he drove home the game-winner with 42 seconds on the clock, while the Vikings felt the sting of hitting the post with 10 seconds remaining as the sixth-seeded Troy boys soccer team rallied and held on for dear life for a 3-2 victory over No. 7 Miamisburg in the second round of the Division I sectional tournament Saturday at Troy Memorial Stadium.
Troy, which improved to 12-3-2, will face now Springboro in the district semifinal. Miamisburg (8-6-3), meanwhile, saw its season end for the second year in a row on the Troy Memorial Stadium pitch — last year, the Trojans defeated the Vikings 1-0 in overtime.
Even after Williams’ late heroics, though, it seemed like that may be on the table again as the Vikings made one final push and sent a shot glancing off the left post and rolling across the mouth of the goal. Troy’s defense was able to get to the loose ball first and clear it out, though, allowing Troy to breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate.
“It looked like deja vu from last year and we’re going to overtime again,” Troy coach Richard Phillips said. “But the futbol gods were with us today. You never know with this game what will happen. Elijah had the same thing happen to him (early in the second half). That’s the way the game goes.”
The game went plenty of unexpected ways, as the Trojans dominated possession throughout the first half but simply couldn’t find ways to put the ball in. It took until the 12:22 mark of the first half for Troy to break the stalemate, with Jon Hipolito getting open in front and knocking in a 20-yarder with his left foot to take a 1-0 lead.
Late in the half, though, Miamisburg was able to draw a foul just outside the box in Troy’s end, though, and with 2:37 until the break, Brett Farmer ripped a shot over Troy’s keeper’s head and in to tie the score at 1-1, which was where things stayed at the break.
Four minutes into the second half, Miamisburg’s keeper slipped coming out of the goal trying to cut off a breakaway by Williams — but Williams was unable to redirect a long pass and hit it right at him. And with 34 minutes to go in the game, Williams got past the Miamisburg keeper and got off a shot, only to have it hit the corner of the near post and roll along the goal mouth, allowing a defender to clear it to keep the score tied.
“It was very frustrating,” Williams said. “You know if you don’t have those chances again later in the game and can’t finish those then, you’ll really regret it — especially senior year, this being our last game here. It could be our last game.”
And with 21:15 to play, the Vikings took their first lead of the game as Farmer got open in front and one-timed in a pass from Jakob Whitacre cross to put Miamisburg up 2-1 and put the pressure on Troy.
“Their gameplan coming in was to physically handle us,” Phillips said. “They wanted to play more narrow than we did, and we tried to get the ball wide a little more. In the first half, we played too narrow, and we needed to get back wide and get the ball back across the face of the goal. By playing wide, it helped us a bit more.
“It took us a while to figure it out, what do we need to do and how do we need to approach that second half. How do we deny them from getting out of their defending third? They tried to work the ball out of the back, so that’s where the advantage for us was in the last 15 minutes — we were able to capitalize on that and pressure them into making mistakes.”
And with 3:50 to play, the Trojans evened the score. Hipolito found Williams open for a 25-yard shot, and Williams was on target to tie the game at 2-2.
The game seemed destined for overtime, but a Miamisburg defender misplayed the ball in front of his own goal and Williams was able to jump on the chance, knocking it in to give Troy a 3-2 lead. Troy’s celebration was almost short-lived, but Miamisburg found the post instead of the back of the net and the celebration was back on.
“It felt good,” Williams said. “And then that last 50 seconds was scary stuff. I’m just glad it’s over. I’m happy, tired, nervous … I’m done.”
But only for the moment — Troy takes on No. 3 Springboro in the district semifinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Xenia’s Doug Adams Stadium.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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