VETERAN GROUP: 18-U FC Troy Arsenal soccer team beats Eufaula for a chance to play in State Tourney
Published 3:30 am Thursday, November 12, 2015
The 18 & Under FC Troy Arsenal soccer team advances to the state tournament after defeating Eufaula 4-1 during the district tournament on Saturday.
Baylor Barnes scored a hat trick in the game and Chase Haney offered up the other goal to win a comfortable game against Eufaula. The Troy team had drawn a bye in the opening round.
“We are have a very veteran group,” said Troy head coach Doug McLendon. “The way they played on Saturday reflected that. They played with high intensity during the first part of the game. They had the maturity late to settle the game and kill it off.”
These same two teams met twice a year ago, once in district and once in state with Troy winning both of those games. This year Troy had the better team and they were able to walk a way with another victory.
“I think we really had a more talented team than Eufaula,” McLendon said.
Troy enters the state tournament as a balanced team. They can score when they need to score, but at the same time they can lock down defensively and make opponents work hard for every goal.
“Typically our philosophy is to play really good defense,” McLendon said. “The good fortune that we have this year is that we have a lot of good offensive players. We are very balanced. We have a veteran defensive unit that has played together for many years. We have the ability to score a lot of goals, and we have the ability to play in really tight games if necessary.”
The Troy Arsenal team is made up of 18 year olds who were selected to play after the conclusion of the Troy Parks and Recreation regular season. All the players are dedicated to the team but a constant challenge for a league that is made up of players of this age is budgeting your time between soccer and other activities.
“They have so many other things they are involved in, whether it be fraternities and sororities or band there is just other things that come in to play,” McLendon said. “We felt like it was time to get back to work. We gave them a few days off after practicing each day for two weeks. Now we are getting cranked back up for the tournament.”
Members of the Troy Arsenal are: Breanna Guice, Adam Bensinger, Chase Haney, Oscar Castelan, Brady Balkcom, DJ Brooks, Baylor Barnes, Perry Bunn, Alexandria McLendon, Rhett Outlaw, Taylor Montgomery, Connor Adler and Cole Wilson.
Troy will head to Dothan for the state tournament on Nov. 21. Troy’s first opponent will be Opelika at 12 p.m.
“We have the talent and pieces necessary,” McLendon said. “Now we just have to coordinate our offense better and take advantage of the chances that we get when we play a tough defense on the other side.”