Trojans top Jacksonville State in final seconds

Published 8:19 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Troy University soccer team wrapped up their 2011 non-conference play in stunning fashion in a thrilling come-from-behind victory over in-state rival Jacksonville State on Sunday.

Troy (5-3-1) trailed for almost the entirety of the game after giving up an early goal to Gamecock midfielder Nathalee Lariviere in just the third minute. After making some minor adjustments on the field in the second half the Trojans still gave up another JSU goal in the 50th minute.

Despite being down 2-0 the Trojans kept their heart and fought back even stronger.

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In the 63rd minute freshman Chelsey Williams got the Trojans back on track as she accepted a pass from sophomore Maddie Tieken and netted the ball with a one touch finish.

As time continued to tick off the clock for the Trojans, sophomore Nikki Stamaris went in to score her second goal of the season in the 82nd minute tying the match at 2-2.

Instead of playing out the remaining eight minutes defensively to take the Gamecocks into overtime the Trojans took their momentum and pressured JSU’s defense even further. With less than 10 seconds remaining left in the match junior Ruth Sutcliffe took possession of the ball and under heavy defensive pressure she was able to get off one last shot at what seemed a near impossible angle. The shot went through the Gamecock’s goalkeeper and into the net on the far side of the goal giving Troy the 3-2 lead with only seven seconds left.

“We really showed a lot of character today getting down 2-0 and clawing our way back,” said head coach Chris Bentley. “The last 10 minutes of the game was an incredible team effort coupled with individual brilliance. We found a way to win today in a time where most teams wouldn’t and that experience is invaluable.”

The match wraps up the Trojans non-conference schedule giving them a lot to build on heading into their conference match ups. In non-conference play the Trojans have competed in two tournaments including their own tournament, the Trojan Classic in which they finished first place.

Troy also competed in the 2011 Port City Classic tournament in Mobile, Alabama. Despite giving up an early loss to Austin Peay in the tournament the Trojans finished in second place.

The Trojans were also able to claim a pivotal tie against the tough Southeastern conference opponent Mississippi State. Troy took the Bulldogs into two overtimes escaping with a 1-1 draw.

The Trojans have also seen their fair share of great individual talent. Freshman Alissa Jones has already recorded six goals (including two game winning goals) in nine matches her first year as a Trojan. Fellow freshman Chelsey Williams is not far behind with four goals. Returner Nikki Stamaris leads the team in assists with three.

Senior Trojan goalkeeper Ashley Branham has already recorded 47 saves on the season and has now broken the school record for most career saves with 360 saves.

With the win against Jacksonville State the Trojans remain undefeated on their home turf which they will hope to continue as their first Sun Belt match-up will be against the University of Louisiana-Monroe in the confines of the Troy Soccer Complex on September 23. The Trojans kick-off against the Warhawks at 3 p.m.