BY JAKE LOURIM
LAKE ORION — Relentless.
That pretty much sums up Troy’s effort in a 6-0 drubbing of Lake Orion in an OAA Red Division girls soccer match Friday.
Troy junior Madison Hirsch scored twice and senior Irene Young added a goal and three assists in the victory that was Troy’s highest-scoring effort of the season.
Troy entered halftime up 3-0, but really took it to Lake Orion in the early part of the second half. The Colts came out of intermission with a 4-3-3 formation designed to pressure Lake Orion in the back.
“We figured out in the second half that we really needed to bring players underneath,” Hirsch said, adding that the Colts could then serve balls downfield to the forwards.
It worked. Troy forced several turnovers and capitalized on them. The Colts also got on the scoreboard by firing shots at the goalkeeper and finishing the rebounds.
“We knew if we just pushed players higher, we’d have that opportunity to play some balls in behind,” Troy coach Brian Zawislak said. “We just tried to put a little bit more pressure on their back line.”
The first goal of the second half came when Troy got two speedsters, Hirsch and sophomore Phylisha Drayton, behind the defense. Hirsch fired a shot, Lake Orion made the diving save, and Drayton poked in the rebound on the opposite side.
In the 48th minute, senior Alyssa Cabelof scored the fifth goal on an assist from Young. Young dribbled towards the end line and drew a defender, then passed it back to Cabelof at the top-right corner of the box for a terrific finish.
“We would play the ball into the target, and they would lay it off into the midfield, and the forwards did a really good job of getting wide and making good runs so they could finish,” Young said.
Just 40 seconds later, Hirsch was at it again. After Lake Orion’s goalie tipped a Troy shot off the bar, it went right to Hirsch in front of the goal for the easy finish.
Hirsch noted that the two second-half goals she was involved in came from outside the 18-yard line. On the second, she read that the goalie was coming out to stop the long shot, leaving her with an easy tip-in.
“At halftime, we talked about trying to play toward the corner flags, and then one of the things we emphasized was, if we’re going to play there, we have to make sure we finish our runs on the weak side of the box.”
That was only the second half of the onslaught, though. Troy controlled the tempo for most of the game, rarely allowing Lake Orion into its half of the field. All game, the Colts were able to get behind the defense for some shot opportunities.
However, as opposed to the 2-0 win over the Dragons at home on March 27, the Colts put multiple chances away.
In the 19th minute, junior Erin Wrubel served a corner kick into the box for Young, who headed it high just inside the opposite post.
“They had a big gap in the center of the field, so that’s how we made the runs,” Young said. “We’ve been working on corners a lot in practice, so we did a good job of finishing that.”
A few minutes later, Young headed a ball to Wrubel for a shot that hit the Dragons’ goalie and squirted past her for Wrubel’s second tally of the year.
Just when it seemed Lake Orion kept Troy quiet for a while, Hirsch found herself all alone in the final third and lofted a blooper over the goalie with just 1:43 left.
The team’s highest-scoring game of the season wasn’t the only thing that pleased Zawislak, though. His team also logged its first shutout in four games.
“One thing I was pleased with last night was that I really feel like we’ve got our back line figured out,” Zawislak said.
An early injury to junior Jamie Hawkey forced Zawislak to look for answers in the beginning part of the season. Then, he tried Hawkey, with her strong left foot, at left midfielder. He said he now plans to move her to center back along with senior captain Jennifer Busk.
Alyssa Cabelof will stay at right back, and senior Rachel Shamoun will move from center to left back in the 4-4-2 formation. Wrubel, who started the season on defense, will stay at attacking midfielder.
(Jake Lourim is a junior at Troy High School and a member of the AdaVan Media Group / www.northoaklandsports.com Student Correspondence Program. He is publisher of website www.troycoltsportsupdate.com and a member of the Troy school newspaper editorial staff. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)