By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — After the Troy girls soccer team’s victory over division rival Piqua Wednesday, the Trojans could only wait to find out whether or not they would get a piece of the inaugural Miami Valley League Miami Division championship, needing help from the Butler-Tippecanoe game to claim it.
They didn’t have to wait long.
As the teams shook hands after Troy’s 7-0 Senior Night win over the Indians Wednesday at Troy Memorial Stadium, the final result of that other game was announced over the PA system — a 1-1 tie, setting off an even bigger celebration by the Trojans at midfield than after they’d won their own game.
They knew exactly what that tie meant.
With their win over Piqua, Troy finished the regular season 10-3-3 overall and 7-1-1 in the MVL Miami, giving the Trojans a total of 22 points in the standings with the formula being three per victory and one per tie. Butler finished 6-0-3 in the division standings, one point shy at 21, and Tippecanoe finished 6-1-2 in third place with 20.
“It’s been a really special week,” Troy coach Michael Rasey said. “For the girls, they fought to put themselves in this position.”
It was a stunning comeback in the league race for the Trojans, who suffered a 1-0 defeat at Butler’s hands back on Sept. 18. But after the Trojans and Red Devils battled to a 3-3 tie last week and Tippecanoe was upset 3-2 by Sidney in crossover play Monday, everything lined up in the Trojans’ favor.
”They never quit, even when we had the setback against Butler, and they beat teams that others lost to, which is what put them here,” Rasey said. “A big win against rival Sidney, battling back against Tipp to secure the tie against them. And that’s what it takes to win in a league that’s got some good teams in it.”
In fact, it mirrored the team’s last division title in 2017, when Troy won the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division with a 9-1 record despite a mid-September loss to Xenia that year.
“That was another situation where we had lost earlier in the season to Xenia, and because of a few other results, we knew if we ran the table against Sidney and Tipp, we would win it,” Rasey said. “So this year was a scenario where, even though we slipped up midseason against a very good Butler team, we took care of business down the home stretch and were fortunate enough to come away with a league championship.”
And for Troy’s senior class, it was a fitting end to six stellar careers.
“This is a special group,” Rasey said. “We had a few newcomers this year to varsity, and they stepped up and played valuable minutes. And when you look at some of the ones that are returning letterwinners, they helped bridge the gap from a year ago when we had all the senior leadership from that big class. Laura Borchers, Abby Westfall, Anna Burghardt, Paige Nadolny in the goal, those are four returning letterwinners that helped to bridge that gap, and then Hailey Bell and Briana Soto, both as first-year varsity players, really contributed, as well.”
Piqua, meanwhile, finished the regular season 3-11-2 and 2-7 in the MVL Miami, despite a valiant effort on Wednesday night. The Indians controlled play for the majority of the game’s first 10 minutes against Troy and even had a chance to take the lead on a corner kick six minutes into the matchup.
But once the Trojans started scoring, they simply didn’t stop — and it was one of the seniors that broke open the dam.
With 30:52 left in the first half, Julianna Williams headed the ball to Chamber Browning to open her up for a shot. Piqua goalie Karley Johns made a diving save, though, deflecting the ball to the right side of the field — where Soto was following up the play uncovered, ready to rip in a shot and give Troy a 1-0 lead.
A mere 24 seconds later, the Trojans got their insurance as Williams — who finished with three goals and two assists on the night — stole the ball, carried it up the right sideline and beat the goalie on a breakaway to make the score 2-0 with 30:28 left in the half.
From there, Troy controlled the game. A shot by Williams led to another rebound putaway by Alexis Carroll with 19:05 on the clock, then on a corner kick with 16:03 left in the half, Borchers popped the ball straight up in the air and Williams was able to head it in to make it a four-goal game. And at 13:43, Westfall scored Troy’s final goal of the first half, taking a feed from Madison Burton and hammering it in from 30 yards out to make the halftime score 5-0.
With 30:33 left in the game, Williams sent a beautiful diagonal centering pass in to spring Browning on a breakaway, and Browning finished to make the score 6-0. And with 21:50 to go, Williams finished off her hat trick by putting away a rebound off of a shot by Browning for the night’s final score.
Nadolny made three saves on the night — one on a direct kick with 17:40 on the clock that was Piqua’s best chance to score in the game — to preserve the shutout, combining with Kayleigh McMullen after Troy’s seniors came out of the game in the final 10 minutes.
With the league title in place, Troy now turns it sights to the postseason. The Trojans, the No. 5 seed, have a first-round bye in the Division I sectional tournament and will begin play in the second round on Oct. 17, facing the winner of Monday’s first-round matchup between No. 11 Fairborn and No. 12 Sidney.
“Obviously, it’s a really special thing to win a league championship in the regular season,” Rasey said. “But in a program like ours, we hope to make a deep run in the tournament where we have a chance to make it to the district final. And by being the fifth seed in Dayton, we’ve put ourselves in a position to do that. Now it’s a matter of going out and taking care of business.”
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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