TROY — Butler, Troy, and Tippecanoe enter the final ten days of the soccer season with two things in common – no losses in league play and showdowns against each other looming.
Tipp may have gained the upper hand in the league race last week, however, when Butler ad Troy battled to a 1-1 tie. That left the Red Devils all alone in first place and forces the Aviators to win their final three GWOC games at Sidney and at home versus Piqua and Tipp.
The three teams had been tied atop the division standings with no losses entering Tuesday’s play. But now Tippecanoe has the lead all to itself with an 8-0 record, while Troy and Butler (8-1-3, 6-0-1 GWOC American North) are tied for second.
“The league right now, with Butler, ourselves, Tipp and Sidney, it’s a very competitive league between those four teams,” Troy coach Richard Phillips said. “Anything can happen between those four clubs can happen. But at this time, right now, it’s a must-win situation with Tipp for us to stay alive in the league.”
Against Butler, Troy put pressure on from the start, with Nathan Kleptz getting the ball to Elijah Williams in front of the goal six minutes in. Williams shot went just high, but it was just the beginning.
And with 31:27 left in the first half, Williams got a chance at redemption — and cashed it in. Bailey Webb brought the ball up the sideline, drawing the defense’s attention long enough to get the ball to Williams in the middle of the field. Williams hit a low shot that Butler’s goalkeeper got his hands on, but the ball trickled away from him and over the goal line to put the Trojans up 1-0 — and that’s where things remained at halftime.
But in the second half, Butler’s defense limited Troy to only three real chances. Matt Buerger hit a pair of 20-yard shots — one that was saved and another that went high — and then a cross from Williams to Webb that Butler’s keeper slid out to cover up before a shot could be taken.
And though the Aviators didn’t have that many chances of their own despite maintaining possession of the ball for most of the half, Chris Mitrousis converted on one of them. With 24:44 left in the game, he took a free kick after a foul from roughly 25 yards out, hitting a shot into the upper 90 to even the score at 1-1.
Neither team was able to put any shots on frame from there, and both the Trojans and Aviators fell into a tie for second place in the American North standings.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.