The Troy soccer team started another promising season with wins against Gardner-Webb and Alabama State, and a narrow loss on the road to Alabama.
Junior forward Abby Reynolds scored twice to lead the Trojans (2-1, 0-0 Sun Belt) to a 2-0 victory against Gardner-Webb (0-2, 0-0 Big South) in front of a record crowd at the Troy Soccer Complex last Friday night. The win marked the team’s first victory of the regular season and their first shutout.
The 863 fans in attendance was a new all-time record, breaking last year’s record by over 200 people.
“We’re excited with this group we have and with starting the year off with a home win,” said head coach Jason Hamilton. “We have the same great fans as last year out here breaking the attendance record. We love our fans and the support the university gives us and hopefully we can break 1000 this season.”
The Trojans were relentless in their attack. The rainy conditions did not hinder the home side’s ability to control the ball. The Trojans controlled possession throughout the match, and capitalized on their opportunities.
Runnin’ Bulldogs freshman goalkeeper Keely Brown was forced to make save after save but was beaten for the first time in the 38th minute. Reynolds put away a corner from senior forward Kirsten Rendall.
Both goals resulted from service out wide coming in for front post runs made by Reynolds.
Freshman midfielder Brittany Yoder made her first home start for the Trojans. Yoder is one of 13 new players on the team.
“One thing we lacked last year was depth,” said Reynolds. “This year we’re excited about having multiple quality players at every position.”
The Trojans fell to the University of Alabama 0-1 in their first away match of the campaign last Sunday night. Despite hanging with the Crimson Tide (1-1, 0-0 SEC) for the majority of the match, sophomore forward Alexis Mouton scored a rare goal against the Trojan defense to secure the win for Alabama.
It did not take long for the team to return to their winning ways when they traveled to face Alabama State.
Freshman forward Brooke McKee was on the score sheet for the first time in her collegiate career. She put the Trojans on the board first in the 23rd minute on an assist from Reynolds.
The Hornets (0-2, 0-0 SWAC) came back swinging, however, and scored two goals in two minutes to steal the lead right back.
McKee shot with lethal accuracy against the Hornets, recording two goals in three shots taken. Senior midfielder Alissa Jones’ equalizer on a set
piece evened the score with her first goal of the season.
The Alabama State match was the Trojans’ third in just six days. The Trojans emerged from this early trial 2-1 for the season with five goals for and three against them. They will look to continue their success, particularly on the road, as they seek another Sun Belt championship run.
Troy returns to home action at the Troy Soccer Complex on Friday Aug. 28 against UT Martin. The match is the Trojans’ first in the Trojan Classic. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.