By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — The Troy girls soccer team checked off a lot of boxes this season.
In the end, though, a league rival kept them from marking off the one marked “postseason.”
Sidney’s MaKayla Dillinger had two goals and Khia McMillen had a goal and an assist as the 12th-seeded Yellow Jackets rallied from an early one-goal deficit with three unanswered goals then held off the No. 5 Trojans late for a 3-2 upset victory in the second round of the Division I sectional tournament Thursday at Troy Memorial Stadium.
“Overall, there was a lot of goals that we checked off the list,” Troy coach Michael Rasey said. “But tonight, it wasn’t good enough. Nothing was good enough tonight. Our composure was bad defensively. We didn’t have composure in the offensive third. The girls played hard — but at this time of year, effort only gets you so much. You’ve got to execute.”
Sidney (10-6-2) advances to face No. 2 Centerville in the district semifinal round Monday at Miamisburg High School. Troy, which won the new Miami Valley League championship, finished the season 10-4-3.
“Winning the inaugural Miami Valley League championship is special,” Rasey said. “Getting to 10 wins — and against the schedule that we play, getting to double-digit wins is legitimate. We say year in and year out that we want to win the conference and finish in the top five in Dayton. We did all that, got exactly what we wanted for the tournament — but the tournament is a new season. It’s one and done, and there is no tomorrow if you don’t put your best product out on the field.”
The league title mirrored Troy’s last league title, which came two years ago — a season that also ended in a tournament upset loss to Sidney, 2-1 in overtime in 2017.
The Trojans beat the Jackets 3-1 back on Sept. 25 in a regular-season matchup also at Troy, and Thursday’s tournament game looked like it would be similar early on. Troy dominated play most of the first half, and with 27:47 left until the break Chamber Browning took a pass from Julianna Williams and ripped a shot into the upper 90 from 20 yards out to give the Trojans a 1-0 lead.
Troy couldn’t add to that lead despite numerous chances, though, and Sidney began to battle back in the final 15 minutes of the half with four chances at corner kicks during that span. And with 2:34 left in the first half, Sidney cashed in on one of those tries as Dillinger got the ball in front of the goal and ripped in a shot to tie the score at 1-1.
“Coming in, we knew we couldn’t give up corners,” Rasey said. “And we kept giving up corners in the first half, and eventually they were able to score off of one and tie up a game that we had dominated.”
Sidney kept that momentum going early in the second half, with Dillinger again cashing in after the Troy defense couldn’t clear the ball out of its own end, giving the Jackets a 2-1 lead with 36:37 remaining. And with 23:32 on the clock, McMillen got free in front of the Troy goal and tapped it in to give Sidney some breathing room with a 3-1 lead.
“In the second half, we had a couple of really bad defensive breakdowns, and to Sidney’s credit, they capitalized. And we did not when we had chances to capitalize,” Rasey said. “This time of year, that makes all the difference.”
Troy began to battle back, though, and with 16:44 remaining Browning scored her second goal of the night, taking a pass from Leah Harnish after Maddie Brewer sent a direct kick into the box and cutting Sidney’s lead to 3-2.
Less than a minute later, though, a Sidney player rolled over top of Browning in Troy’s defensive end, stopping play with 15:53 to go as the trainers tended to the injured Trojan. Browning was not able to return in the game, and though Troy had a handful of chances the rest of the way, it simply could not recover.
“In some ways, Chamber was the best player on the field tonight,” Rasey said. “She scored two goals and was literally all over the place. I mean, when her injury happened, she was in our own 18 defending. She gets clipped, goes down, and that’s going to take the wind out of anybody’s sails a bit because they did not have an answer for her tonight at all.”
Lexee Brewer and Jarah McMillen each added an assist for Sidney. Goalie MaKayla Hurey made 12 saves to preserve the win as Troy outshot Sidney 14-6. Troy senior keeper Paige Nadolny made three saves in the game.
And while Troy bids farewell to six seniors — Nadolny, Briana Soto, Hailey Bell, Anna Burghardt, Abby Westfall, and captain Laura Borchers — the team will return a massive amount of young players that contributed to the Trojans’ success this year.
“In some ways, we’re a year ahead of schedule,” Rasey said. “We are young overall. We’re going to miss the seniors, who have contributed so much this year. But there’s a bright future ahead for Troy soccer.
“Right now, it hurts. But there’s a lot to look forward to.”
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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