TROY — The state rankings called it an upset. The Botkins High School boys soccer team called it about time.
Botkins ended a four-game losing streak to Troy Christian, ranked No. 3 in the Division III state poll, with a 2-0 road victory on Tuesday evening. While the win was a confidence boost for the Trojans, Botkins entered the game right behind Troy Christian in the local Miami Valley Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association poll. Troy Christian was No. 1 with 70 points and Botkins was No. 2 with 55.
“We knew they were No. 3 coming into this game. We had it in our heads they were good,” said Botkins freshman keeper Carson Motter. “Once we got that first goal it gave us all the confidence we could win this game.”
Zane Paul put Botkins ahead with 17:47 left in the first half. It was Botkins’ first goal against Troy Christian in four games. The Eagles had outscored the Trojans 10-0 during that span, including last season’s 3-0 victory on Botkins’ home field.
“If we play to our full potential I feel like we can make a run. We have to come to play,” Paul said. “We’re picking it up. Our connection with each other is getting better and better every game.”
It continued in the second half when Connor Smock made it 2-0 with 24:18 left. The defense made it stand.
“The team trusts him and he’s doing a great job back there,” Smock said of Motter’s play in goal.
The loss was the second straight for Troy Christian (8-2-0) following a 2-1 loss to Cincinnati Seven Hills (ranked No. 12 in the state) last Saturday.
“It’s up there. I wouldn’t say it’s our biggest win,” Botkins coach Kevin Lynch said. “It’s just a regular season win. … The last time we came here they beat us 5-0.
“When it comes to the state poll, we’ve never been there. Troy Christian has been there the past couple years so people recognize the name. I think all the coaches in the Miami Valley know we’re pretty good. We have to keep going.”
Botkins (8-0-2) withstood Troy Christian’s second-half attack behind a strong defensive effort. Motter, who recorded six saves, has earned the confidence of his teammates. He’s also acquired an unusual nickname: Mottstick.
The nickname was given to him after a trip to Pizza Hut and the team ordered mozzarella sticks, hence the nickname Mottstick. It was fitting Tuesday night since Motter was, indeed, the big cheese.
“They have made some jokes about me being a freshman,” Motter said, grinning. “I find it funny. I get along with it.”
Motter credited his defense — Denton Homan, Andrew Monnin, Travis Barhorst and Nate Guckes — with handing Troy Christian its first shutout loss this season.
“I couldn’t have done this without them,” Motter said. “They all played really well tonight.”
The shutout was the sixth for Botkins against 10 opponents this season. The Trojans have now outscored those teams 71-5.
“Our goal is to keep winning,” Motter said. “It’s fun to win so we want to keep on winning and go as far as we can.”