Troy soccer off to fast start at SBC tourney

Scott McLendon

Staff Writer

The Trojan soccer team is off to a successful start in the Sun Belt tournament, putting up a trio of goals against Georgia Southern to seal an impressive 3-0 first-round victory on Wednesday, Nov. 4.

The Eagles (6-11-2, 3-5-1 Sun Belt) made a 12th-minute defensive substitution to try and cope with early pressure from Troy (14-4-1, 6-2-1 Sun Belt), but to no avail.

Three different Trojans found the back of the net when dismantling the Eagles. Senior defender Payton Donley of Woodstock, Georgia, gave the Trojans the lead in the first half.

First-team All-Sun Belt midfielder Alissa Jones provided the assist in the 21st minute.

Fellow first All-Sun Belt teammate and sophomore goalkeeper Mikki Lewis recorded her 10th shutout of the season in front of a strong Trojan defense.

Troy’s defense allowed only five shots. None found the back of the net, and three were denied by Lewis.

The Trojans reeled off nine shots on the afternoon, forcing the opposing keeper into three saves, and beating her just as many times. The sides evenly split the 18 fouls, making for a physical encounter.

The dominance continued after the halftime whistle. Junior forward Abby Reynolds made a goal past the keeper in the 76th minute.

Claire Taylor, the freshman midfielder, assisted the late goal, but the Trojans were not finished just yet.

The third and final goal of the match was delivered by Natalie Melillo, from Nutley, New Jersey. The sophomore forward nearly extended the lead to 4-0 when her shot hit the post two minutes later.

The Troy soccer team will now advance to the semifinal round on Friday, Nov. 6, to face Georgia State. Play begins at 7 p.m.

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