Soccer team seizes second seed in Sun Belt tournament

Michael Shipma

Staff Writer

The Troy soccer team finished the regular season this weekend with a pair of 3-0 wins on the road, against UALR and Arkansas State.

The Trojans (14-5, 6-3 Sun Belt) recorded their 11th shutout of the season this weekend and moved up to second in the Sun Belt standings going into the conference tournament.

Troy’s first match of the weekend came on Friday, Oct. 24, as the Trojans continued to prove their worth on the field. The match remained a stalemate in the first 25 minutes, as neither team could get the upper hand. UALR (11-6-1, 2-5-1 Sun Belt) was able to hold Troy to just four shots in the first half, and held the Trojan offense at bay.

This would change, when junior forward Chelsey Williams scored her seventh goal of the season in the 29th minute of the match. The goal also put Williams in first place all-time for career goals at Troy with 24.

The goal would get the Trojans back on track, and 12 minutes later, the Trojans scored again.

Freshman forward Natalie Melillo got her fourth goal this season off a deflection from junior midfielder Alissa Jones. The goal put the Trojans up 2-0 going into halftime.

UALR would regroup, however, and got off 10 shots in the second half. It kept pressure on Troy’s defense, but thanks to a five-save performance from freshman goalkeeper Mikki Lewis, the visiting Trojans would stay ahead.

A goal in the 70th minute from sophomore midfielder Abby Reynolds put UALR away for good, as the Trojans won their third straight match.

Troy’s momentum would continue into its match against Arkansas State on Sunday, Oct. 26, as it was able to meet with more success on offense.

Jones, who had not scored in the last few matches, lit up the scoreboard for the team. The Trojans didn’t play well the first half, but fortunately for Troy, the Red Wolves (4-14, 1-8 Sun Belt) weren’t able to capitalize.

It wasn’t until the 55th minute that the Trojans were able to score. Jones stole the ball from the defense, broke away down the field, and put it past the goalkeeper to give Troy a kick start.

Another goal from Jones six minutes later put Troy ahead 2-0 and gave the team momentum.

It then took just seven minutes for Williams to get into the action. She continued to make history at Troy with her 25th career goal.

“It was a game that we wanted to get a good result in,” head coach Jason Hamilton said. “We knew we had to come out and play better in the second half, and I think we did that. I thought the players responded very well. Most importantly, we got the result we were looking for and put ourselves in a good spot for the conference tournament.”

Troy took No. 2 seed and will start the Sun Belt conference tournament by playing No. 7 seed UL Lafayette, which the Trojans beat earlier this season on Oct. 3 at home. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 5, in Mobile.

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