By Caleb Odom
The Trojan soccer team (6-7), will have to rely on its effective defense that shut out Arkansas State and UALR last weekend to take down conference power Western Kentucky (5-3-4) on Friday, Oct. 11, in Bowling Green.
“I think Western Kentucky is right now the class of the conference,” Troy Head Coach Chris Bentley said. “They are 3-0 right now, and I think they are a good team. We have got to be prepared to go to war.”
That preparation may have come from some quality defense against the Red Wolves of Arkansas State last Thursday, Oct. 3, at home, a match that Troy took 1-0.
The Trojans’ one goal came from freshman forward Necee Jennings in the 38th minute that was assisted by Cecilia Thorngren and Kirsten Rendall.
Troy would take that same form of play on the road in the Sunday match, Oct. 6, against UALR where, on the artificial turf, the Trojans beat the Little Rock Trojans 1-0.
Like Thursday, Troy would only need one goal to win the match and freshman forward Abby Reynolds delivered in the 54th minute on an unassisted goal.
“Great individual effort on the goal but overall great collective effort from the team,” Bentley said.
Over those two matches, Trojan goalkeeper Madison Winter recorded seven saves and two shutouts earning her the honor of Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week.
“We defended extremely well,” Bentley said. “Kept them out of the goal and I think it was team performance that was much needed.”
On Friday, Oct. 11, at 1 p.m., Troy will face a Hilltopper team that brings the challenge of defensive discipline.
“They are going to be a team that, as they always are, very defensively organized and it is going to take a huge collective attacking effort to score,” Bentley said. “We will need a full team effort to really get a result.”
After Friday’s matchup, Troy will travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia State at noon on Oct. 12.
“I think Georgia State is a team that has been very up and down with their results,” Bentley said. “I think they can play with anyone and it’s going to be a tough game especially coming out of a really big game against Western Kentucky. But I think if we stay focused and take it one game at a time, each game from this point on is the biggest game of the season as far as I’m concerned. So once Friday is done, Sunday is the next biggest game of the year.”