Troy edges Sayre 2-1 to advance to Semis
LOYALSOCK - It was a play you could have a hard time drawing up.
With the wind to her back Troy's Taylor Johnston launched a goal kick that soared more than 60 yards and seconds later the ball ended up with Courtney Binford who fired a shot as she slid to the ground.
The result was Binford's second goal of the day and a 2-1 win over Sayre for the Troy Trojans.
With the win the Trojans advance to the semifinals on Tuesday at a time and date to be determined where they face Southern Columbia, 2-1 winners over East Juniata.
For Binford the winning goal was one she won't ever forget.
"It was amazing," she said. "I was sliding to the ground and I took the shot. All my teammates go crazy as the shot goes in. Everything just happened so fast. It was the best feeling ever."
With the wind gusting all day Johnston used it to her advantage as he launched the long pass upfield.
"At the beginning of the game I couldn't really punt it very far," Johnston said of kicking against the win. "In the second half on the first one I saw it was going far so I knew I could do that."
For the Trojans getting to the district semifinals is something special.
"It's unbelievable," Kayla Stephani said. "It's the best feeling."
Neither team was able to score in the first half and it was looking like another low-scoring game for the Trojans, who went to a shootout after a scoreless game to beat Wyalusing in the first round.
"We didn't want to put ourselves through that again," Stephani said. "We didn't want to put coach through that either."
Troy got on the board midway through the second half when Sayre goalie Paige Wampole leaped up to try and make a save and Binford came flying in. Wampole bobbled the ball and Binford was able to knock it free and into the net.
For Binford it was a little déjà vu as she had watched her brother score a similar goal against Athens on Wednesday.
"It was really exciting," Binford said. "I couldn't believe it."
The Troy players saw earlier in the year that at times Sayre's goalies struggled holding onto the ball against them.
"We noticed it the past couple games we played against them," Sara Hunsicker said. "We tried to put pressure on her."
The Troy lead didn't last long as Sayre scored two minutes later when Jessica Hickey put one in for the Redskins.
The game remained tied about 10 minutes before Binford got the winner to help the Trojans advance.
For Troy they become the first girls' soccer team to advance to the district semis and they will look for even more as they try and reach a district final and earn a spot in states on Tuesday.
"It would be the first time in school history," Hunsicker said.
"No soccer team at the school has done it," Mattocks said, noting that it would be the first time a boys' or girls' soccer team at Troy had reached a final.
For the seniors Saturday could have been their last game, now with the win they are guaranteed at least two more games as there is a third-place game with three teams making states for Class A girls.
"It pushes us to do even better," Stephani said. "We want to go further."
"It's great to have more games," Gloria Torres added.
For Troy's players to go this far is something special.
"I don't think a lot of people expected it," Stephani said. "We didn't win the league, so to go this far is special."
The Trojans know that this has been a complete team effort.
"We all count on each other, we all push each other," Johnston said.
Troy had nine shots in the game and five corner kicks and Sayre finished with 11 shots and two corner kicks.
Johnston had nine saves for Sayre and Wampole, and Becca McNamara, combined for five saves for Sayre in the game.